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On the eve of Thanksgiving, I’d like to wish you and your family a very happy holiday season from all of us at Mercer Vine.
I’ve learned a lot about gratitude through my time hosting Real Shift Radio, and through my journey of self improvement which began about nine years ago when I was at my lowest. 2007 was pretty much the worst year of my life. I was one of the most successful agents in my town and I had been working with the top agent in our city (she sold over 300 homes a year), But in 2007, the market tanked and we stopped selling homes. I lost everything. My dad got cancer and I ballooned to almost 250 pounds. I was fat, broke and depressed. But since then, I’ve literally turned everything in my life around and I’ve done it with the help of dozens of amazing people. I’ve found that being aware of a daily practice that I try to complete as fully as possible each day has helped me to be more successful, happy and experience a better sense of balance than I’ve ever felt before in my life. I especially find this practice useful and centering during the busy holiday season.
Here are 9 things I’ve come to incorporate into my daily practice
I used to think this was some kind of hippy-dippy kumbaya “woo-woo” crap. But, I’ve come to realize meditation can be found in many forms. I think the older I get the more spiritual I become. I’m much more “woo-woo” than I had ever thought I’d be in life. I’m very aware that I need to experience some calmness in my daily life. I think that allows me to manage the rest of the things that are happening in my life. Meditation can be as simple as a few moments of quiet with your eyes closed. It doesn’t have to be the cross-legged lotus pose you might picture when you hear the word. For me, guided meditation does the most good. My old boss Nick Segal created a five-minute meditation that I love to listen to in the mornings. It helps me to calm down and focus on identifying the action steps I can take to help me achieve my goals. In the evenings I love a guided meditation that I found on YouTube that I like to listen to with my eyes closed when I’m laying down to fall asleep.
2. List Priorities
Things have a much better chance of being achieved if you write them down. There’s something really gratifying about checking something off a list. There are tons of ways to do this. If you’re more tactile, you might prefer to keep it old school with paper and pen. I usually write my to-do’s down and then when they’re finished I like to cross them out with a highlighter. Wunderlist is another tool that I’ve come to use frequently: it’s a free application that loads on my phone, tablet and computer, and it’s really amazing because I can share my to-do lists with the people I’m working with and it helps us to be more organized and achieve more together.
3. Positive Mantras
I surround myself with positive sayings. I’m a strong believer in the idea of “what you think about you bring about.” If you surround yourself with positivity, you’re bound to have that impact on others and make it become part of your days. I have a lot of my favorite mantras from people that I’ve had on my show written down in a journal where I see them every day, and even on the background of my computer so I see it more frequently.
Exercise has really become a big part of my life. It’s not something I dread anymore. Over the past eight years, it’s taken many forms. I’ve run marathons, I’ve done bootcamp classes, most recently I’ve taken to Pilates, weight lifting and high-intensity interval training classes. Whenever I get bored with something, I try something new. I usually do these activities with other people, because for me, it’s not just exercise -- it’s something that charges my batteries through social interaction with people I really enjoy spending time with and it helps me to work out (literally) any angst or unhappiness I might be feeling as a result of any of the things going on in my day.
I also like to take a few minutes every day to free-write about anything I happen to be thinking about. I try not to think too hard about a theme or intention behind this -- I literally like to use this time just as a way to let the thoughts that I’m having flow freely through me. Sometimes I read it later, sometimes I don’t. I think it’s really therapeutic just to get it out.
6. Be quiet
I really try to spend a few minutes of every day in silence. Whether that’s in the car or just sitting in a chair alone, it’s amazing what adding just a little bit of space and silence in your life will do for you.
7. Be aware of what you’re eating
As a former fatty, I find the best way for me to be aware of what I’ve eaten is to log it. I like to write down everything that I eat in a day so that I have a running history of where I can make better choices in the future.
8. Be grateful
Gratitude is truly one of the most central themes of my life. I have a habit of writing down the things that I’m grateful for in a gratitude journal that a wonderful friend of mine gave to me. When I’m feeling upset or annoyed, I try to identify the things that I’m happy about in that moment. It’s amazing to me how identifying the good in any situation will help eliminate the negative.
9. And don’t forget to hydrate!