Back to Basics – The ABC’s for Inspired Living in 2015

Acknowledge: Knowing your strengths, talents and abilities is the first step to unleashing your potential and power. We are all blessed with so many wonderful gifts and we can’t unwrap and share them with others if we fail to acknowledge what they are. This year, commit to knowing what you personally have to offer others and then serve everyone you touch with your special greatness.

Blessings: Blessings are all around us. Sometimes they are in the form of miracles, other times, they are in the form of opportunities. Sometimes they appear as emotions, sometimes people, resources or natural wonders. If we choose to look for them, we will certainly find them. The word ‘bless’ means to add weight or value,” says John Trent, author of Heart Shift. “When you bless someone, you add to their life. And when you curse someone, you subtract from their life. In every dealing you have with someone, you’re either subtracting or blessing. You can tip the scales one way or the other.” This year, let’s not only notice the many precious blessings we have, but let’s shower as many blessings over those around us. Together, we can tip the scales and bring tremendous light and joy to so many lives.

Control: There are many things in life that we have very little or no control over – what happens to us, what other people say or do. However, we have incredible control over our reactions to what happens to us and how we choose to respond to every experience we encounter. Our control lies in our attitude, our choices and our behavior. One of our most significant superpowers as human beings is our free will to choose how we are going to live our lives. These paramount choices result in our ultimate happiness. This year, let go of a few more things that you cannot change or control and grab tightly on to what you can control or change with both your hands.

Discipline: The master key to success lies in discipline. There are plenty enticing temptations that surround us and obstacles are the things we start to see when we take our eyes off our goals. Discipline is like a muscle and the more we work on building and refining this skill, we can strengthen our actions and develop excellent habits that bring us closer to achieving our biggest success. Discipline means asking yourself: What is the very best use of my time right now and then consistently following through.

Encouragement: Many people confuse encouragement with praise. Encouragement is based on evidence and when we are doing our best to lift ourselves up or those around us, we have to create a solid case of confidence and reassurance with proof. Encouragement refers to the tone and words we choose to empower and inspire, as well as the fundamental belief in one’s resilience. This year, create affirmations that are positive, motivating and full of encouragement. When you are kinder to yourself as you move through change, you give other people permission to do the same. Remember, we are all fighting battles some others know nothing about, and a gentle word that offer hope and support can literally save a dream.

Focus: Best-selling author and speaker Laurie Beth Jones says, “One of the most powerful questions for focusing is asking yourself: ‘What would I be doing with my time if I knew I had only six healthy months to live?’ It can immediately cause you to reorganize your priorities.” Focus your time, energy and resources on the things and people that truly matter most to you. Connect yourself to a pleasure, passion and purpose that speaks volumes to your heart and soul and always choose in favor of that focus. Vague goals produce vague results. Take the time to get clear about where you are going and what you’d like to accomplish this year. Write this down. Then focus.

Give: Living inspired means that we fill our time with things we love. We have fun. We enjoy our time here. We set goals and do our best to accomplish them and we bring out our absolute best in all that we do. If we live this way, we will achieve massively. But to fall asleep at night knowing another life has breathed easier because of our efforts – the ability to give to another and know our contribution has had a lasting value and impact way beyond ourselves, this is true happiness and epic peace of mind. This year, commit to creating and leaving a legacy. A kind word, charity, volunteering, connecting to a cause that has heart for you – anytime you give, you grow, every time you give, you get and every time you give you plant a seed of your unique magic wherever you go. This sparkle when nurtured and nourished blooms and has the power to light up the world.

Help: We do not have to achieve all our goals in isolation. In fact on our heroic journeys through transformation, we are welcome and encouraged to recruit all the help we can get. Think about the people you look up to, those who already are where you’d most love to be. Ask them how they did it. Reach out to the experts. Spend time with them. Learn from them. Get their help. Use the love and support of family and friends to spark your bravery and courage. Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. It is a sign of emotional intelligence and comes from a place of authenticity and vulnerability. Allow yourself to turn complaints into requests so that you can ultimately become a helper to someone in need too. We are social beings with an inner desire to develop a higher social interest. Ask for help and don’t be afraid to offer help wherever needed. Helpers are the most beautiful gifts to humanity and helping others achieve, is our most certain way to help ourselves too.

Inspiration: A new year is a new opportunity for dreams to grow. Read, learn, blog, journal, go to classes and talks and lectures that inspire you. They say inspiration is like taking a shower. You can’t shower on a Sunday and think you are clean for the rest of the week. Inspiration has to be incorporated into your daily schedule so that each day you treat yourself to this essential vitality. Commit to starting and ending your day with inspiration. One minute of inspiration can ignite a passion inside of you that can alter the course of your life forever. Give inspiration that space to catalyze the greatest moment you will ever know.

Joy: Choose to become joyful. “We are invited to rejoice in every moment of life because every moment of life is a gift,” says John Ortberg, author of The Life You’ve Always Wanted. Laugh more. The person who sees humor in every situation always wins. Have fun, lighten up and make 2015 a year of happiness – not only through success and achievement but through seeing the smallest moments with joy and a big wide smile. If you see someone walking around this year without a smile, offer them one of yours.

Kindness: One of the most noble of all traits. Let’s try to be the kindest people we know. The kindest spouse, the kindest friend, the kindest parent, the kindest manager, the kindest employee, the kindness coach, the kindness child. Imagine a world where each person is deeply devoted to kindness. There can be no hatred, no war, no evil, no cruelty if we choose to live this way. I know we are living through very uncertain, turbulent times. I believe that kindness is what can shift 2015 more than anything. On a personal, societal, and national level – if we educate and endorse this value in our homes, schools, cities and countries – we can be instrumental in building a better future for all of mankind. It starts and ends with each and every one of us.

Learn: “Commit yourself to a life of continual learning,” Trent says. “Keep reading. Keep attending classes or workshops regularly. Keep learning and being teachable.” School is never out for us. We have been blessed with incredible intellect and the ability to innovate. I am constantly blown away by the innovation in the field of technology, medicine & science. The advancements we make each year are unparalleled and we are progressing at the fastest pace. When we learn, we open our minds. When our minds are open, we allow for possibility. When we are open to possibility, anything is possible. Isn’t it the most awesome thought that we can learn to pioneer anything! In 2015, the sky is the limit. Let’s learn. Let’s give ourselves permission to try new things, take new risks and be humble enough to learn from new leaders, and new teachers. The people who are the happiest and most successful in any field, are the people who are proud to call themselves students.

Meditation: Slow down. Take time to breathe. Mindfulness is becoming a trend-setter, not because it’s an exciting passing phase, but because it offers incomparable value to the human spirit, psyche and body. Let’s dedicate a set time each day to pausing, listening to our intuition, trusting, having more faith and connecting to ourselves like never before. Being truly present is the new “black” for 2015. As Jon Kabat-Zin so aptly puts it,  “wherever you go, there you are”. You have all the answers inside of you to life’s most pressing questions.

Never: Never give up. Never do a permanent act based on a temporary emotion. Never say “I can’t”. Never push aside a dream that means the world to you because of the time or effort it’s going to take to materialize. Never suppress potential or under-use a strength – this will become regret and pain if you do.

Optimism: Optimists have a tendency to make lemonade out of lemons, and to then see the glass as half-full rather than half-empty. It’s an admirable quality, one that can positively affect mental and physical health with magnificent ramifications we can’t always comprehend. It is worth cultivating optimism. It helps one to expect the best possible outcome and accompanies the belief that the universe is good. Optimistic people are more hopeful and positive. When you are optimistic, failure is merely feedback and hardships are learning experiences and even the most miserable day always holds the promise that ‘tomorrow will be better.’

Prioritize: We can never regenerate time. Prioritize your life so that your highest value activities take preference always. Commit this year to enhancing and refining your time management skills so that you are able to identify what tasks you need to tackle first. Saying NO to one thing in essence means you are saying YES to something else. This year, say YES to your PRIORITIES and make each day count! “My favorite things in life don’t cost any money. It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time.” Steve Jobs

Quit: Quit whining. Quit complaining. Quit making excuses. Quit spending time with people who don’t see your value or worth. Quit negative habits. Quit staying in the same place when you are itching to move. Quit being stuck. Quit laziness and procrastination. Quit anything that is not healthy.

Release: There is something so liberating about releasing. Sometimes we have to let go of things, only because they are too heavy to carry. Let go of everything that is weighing you down. Let go of the drainers in your life. Regret, Mistakes, Anger. Resentment, Ego, Jealousy, Competition – let it all go. Free up your energy this year for positivity, love, new dreams and more than anything, invest this new-found energy in your loved ones who continually lift you higher and cherish your worth.

Sorry: Apologize to those you hurt, intentionally or unintentionally. We all make mistakes and creativity and abundance can’t coincide or coexist with resentment and unresolved issues. Accept an apology you were never given and move forward without anger. Forgiveness is a gift we not only provide another person, but it is a precious gift we give ourselves. The extensive and comprehensive research on the ability to say sorry, to forgive and to ask for forgiveness is testimony to the magnitude of its effect on our ultimate happiness, success and health. This year, decide: Who am I going to say sorry to, What am I willing to forgive, and what apology am I willing to accept even if it was never offered to me.

Thank You: Thank you is still the magic word. We all want to be thanked for our efforts. It is such a simple word – yet it means so much. The best way to teach others is to live our truth. If we want to role model gratitude, we need to show sincere appreciation and thanks wherever we go. Recognizing that others do for us, not only reminds us to be modest and humble, but it opens doors to more deeper and meaningful relationships, enhances our empathy and drastically improves our psychological and physical health. Gratitude makes people like us and people like being with people they like. Gratitude increases our spirituality and reduces our materialism. Gratitude enables us to count all our blessings and not take things for granted. This year, I am going to make a more conscious effort to thank each person in the street, the supermarket, the restaurant, the post office, the guard, the people who make my days brighter and G-d. This year, I am going to start and end each day by thanking G-d with greater seriousness and genuineness.

Unplug: Shabbat is one of my favorite days of the week. It is a day where I completely UNPLUG from all technology. There is something so inviting about this much-needed break. I started a ritual a while ago, following Julia Cameron’s suggestion, the Artist’s Date. I would take myself somewhere peaceful with no phone and totally unplug. This became an oasis in a crazy day filled with wonderful responsibilities and commitments and I treasure this time immensely. Be in nature. Relish outdoor life. Exercise. Move your body. Switch OFF in 2015. Spend time with yourself, by yourself. One of the greatest discoveries of self-transformation and personal development is not only getting to know yourself, but getting to like what you find. Connect to all your loved ones. Look people in the eye. Listen with all of your senses. We miss out on so much when we are plugged in to devices rather than to hearts.

Voice: Speak your truth. Wear your passion. Let people know what you care about. Let people get to know the real, beautiful, one-of-a-kind YOU and what you stand for. You have a unique voice. You have greatness within you. You have something the world needs. That’s why you are here. Use your voice to speak your goals. Use your voice to care. Use your voice to inspire. Use your voice to make positive change. Use your voice to pray. Use your voice to sing. Use your voice to laugh.

Work: The most brilliant coaching tools in the world can’t work unless you do. In my self-coaching journal Rise & Shine, I offer a wealth of strategies for making change, but there is no quick fix or magic wand. Awakening and transformation that is real is a slow process that requires hard work. Use this New Year wisely to work harder, rise earlier, stay longer, and invest in your wildest dreams. With commitment and dedication to working hard, nothing can stand in our way of moving forward. Hard work means that we are willing to try, fall and stand up again, we are willing to be bold, and we are willing to face ridicule and criticism. If we are willing to do something we have never done – we will reap what we have yet to reap. 2015 is a year of hard work and hardcore results.

eXtra: This year is about going the extra mile. This year is about doing more than you did before. This year is about stretching your boundaries so that your comfort zone expands. This year is about the extra effort and the extra benefit. Extra focus. Extra power. Extra love. Extra drive. Extra outcomes. There are so many prizes and rewards we can claim and enjoy on our journey if we choose to see all these eXtras and not only our end results. Stop and see how far you’ve come, be proud of yourself, become your own life cheerleader and celebrate your wins, no matter how big or small they seem with extra vigor, punch and spirit. Go the eXtra mile.

Yesterday: Leave it behind, glance back to see how far you have come or to grab a lesson or strength. Otherwise keep moving forwards. Leave all past mistakes behind you. Yesterday just determines your starting point today. It in no way predicts how far you can really go! Live now, savor the present, plan for tomorrow and “Live Today! Do not allow your spirit to be softened of your happiness to be limited by a day you cannot have back or a day that does not yet exist.” Steve Maraboli.

Zest: Fervor. Zeal. Wake up. Do what makes you come alive. Show keen curiosity. Step up. This year decide to be a leader, not a victim, decide to be accountable not helpless, decide to be interested, not indifferent.” Norman Vincent Peale.
When you live inspired this way, you walk among the most inspired who have ever lived.

About the Author
Andi Saitowitz was born in South Africa and fulfilled her Zionist dream of living in Israel since 1999 following a Bnei Akiva year's leadership program in Israel after matriculation. Described by her clients, associates, friends & family as a Transformational Leader, Inspiration Queen and Lover-of-Life, Andi Saitowitz is a certified Personal Development Life Coach & Motivational Speaker graduating from the esteemed Adler Institute, a member of the International Coaching Federation and a Global Lumina Practitioner. With a professional background in Psychology, Organizational Communication, Research and Practice and years experience in Non-Profit Donor Relations and International Fundraising Campaigns, Andi is passionate about and committed to helping people bring out their absolute best. She firmly believes that when we discover and offer our gifts to the world, we become far more aware and appreciative of the amazing opportunities around us, and conscious of our power, our choices and life experiences. Andi is married to her best friend, and is a blessed mom of 3 awesome children. In her spare time she loves playing sports, reading, volunteering and is co-founder of the latest meaningful gifts online charity portal Andi runs a private coaching practice and offers comprehensive professional coaching services to individuals, couples, teams and organizations, bringing a magnificent mix of Positive and Adlerian Psychology, NLP, Mindfulness and High Performance Training to everyone she coaches, mentors and inspires.