A Look Back at 2017 (w/ Lots of Pictures!)

At the end of 2017, I planned to write this post but continued to procrastinate. I was slacking to share any of my writing for reasons which I deem inexplicable. I was practicing my craft. That’s all I intended to do and sharing much of it felt too soon and became more difficult than I imagined. I set a goal of writing 1,000 words a day and accomplished some things with my writing and reading habits in 2017 that changed the way I live.

I completed Julia Camerons ‘Morning Pages’ over the summer, read several books on creative and non-fiction writing, started blogging, filled nearly 3 journals, 4-5 notebooks, and took many notes in Google Keep that I often forget about nowadays.

For this post, I am going to share some highlights and memories from 2017 which made it a truly remarkable year, avoid the negatives of 2017 (maybe a later post to share lessons learned, failures, etc…), and shed some insight into how I see 2018 turning out.

Where to begin?

How about with the best trip of my life; Breckenridge, CO to ski/snowboard with 20 people from Minnesota (mostly), only one of which I knew personally? (My friend Max)

 

After a disappointing finale to 2016, planning this trip to Colorado propelled my life into a positive direction and I’m happy to say 2018 is shaping up to be even better! I am grateful for all of the amazing new friends I met from Minnesota. Thanks for inviting and welcoming me on your trip to the Rocky Mountain state!

Breckenridge was the greatest vacation of my adult life and I find myself reminiscing of fresh powder, bluebird skies, countless Dale’s Pale Ales, early mornings preparing to shred and late nights, dancing and celebrating such a beautiful place. I’m disappointed I won’t be able to join you all this year at Whistler Blackcomb in BC, Canada, but I’m lucky to have joined you all in the first place. Have an incredible trip and enjoy the powder!

After vacation away in the beautiful mountains of Colorado, I focused back in at work.  I wound up leaving one company to join another and planned a vacation to Wilmington, NC to see my parents, play some golf, and attend the Wells Fargo Championship with my dad at the stunning Eagle Point Golf Club in Wilmington, North Carolina. It reminded me of what Augusta National would be like (I’ve  never been).

 

It was great to see my family, spend some time with my brother, meet some of my favorite PGA Tour players, do a little surfing, and relax on the beach!

Oh, and if you’ve never seen Dustin Johnson in a Wednesday Pro-Am smash his driver you’re missing out. Thanks for the show of hitting three consecutive drives on this hole DJ!

 

 

In March I was fortunate to have moved to Boston, found a new job in the Seaport District and fell in love with the city. I’d take the train into downtown, walk nearly everywhere, and explore often. I miss you Boston. Maybe I’ll be back soon…

Soon after starting my new job I attended my first trade show in Wisconsin. Although I resigned from the company only 3 months after starting, I had such an amazing time at the trade show that it’s worth it to share the only photo of me representing our booth at the time.

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Huge thanks to Zerto for being such a great company and providing me with the opportunity to join their team and represent a game-changing BC/DR technology in the SaaS marketplace.

Thanks to the few colleagues I met in Wisconsin who didn’t allow me to leave without drinking several beers and forcing shots of Jamieson down my throat before I caught my flight home, oh and don’t forget about the cheese curds! (Sorry for the terrible picture quality).

Only a few short weeks after returning from Wisconsin and attending ZertoCON, a conference for Zerto in Boston, I resigned from the company and set my intentions on the pursuit of an independent business venture – a Solopreneur idea – and to relocate down to Wilmington, NC to start a new career and get my financial life in order. I’m happy to report that much of my ambitions and goals have been accomplished and I’m closer than ever to living debt free.

After I resigned it was game time. I planned to drive down to Wilmington, NC with no more than would fill my car. I sold nearly everything and made about $1,000 in a matter of a week. This taught me a lot about what I truly needed for material belongings to be happy. Decluttering my life of excess material possessions helped me find much more joy in hobbies that I previously would escape to TV, mindless organizing, and non-productive tasks.

Throughout the few weeks before driving myself to NC, I did quite a bit! I wandered aimlessly throughout Boston exploring new places, trying new coffee shops, and spent some time with friends in the city. I spent an afternoon at the Museum of Science (highly recommended) and lost myself amongst the fascinating scientific discoveries and inventions of the modern era.

 

I did a 3-day water fast during one of the hottest times of the year which tested me more physically and mentally than anything ever before. I felt more alive, energetic, and clear-minded at this point than ever before. Now I do sporadic intermittent fasting a few days a week to keep my body from overworking itself and it has worked great for me since.

I attended a Tony Robbins Ultimate Wealth and Achievement Summit which had guests of Tom Brady and Julian Edelman speaking on their remarkable lives of achievement, discipline, and persistence towards becoming the best at what they do. As a Patriots fan, this was INCREDIBLE to hear live and in-person.

This was one of the most sensational moments of my life. I put aside the cliches of some people I know and their perspective of self-help/personal growth and immersed myself at this event. Tony Robbins helped to guide into a high energy state and uses his remarkable depth of psychological and physiological expertise to educate you on what it takes to live with purpose and positive energy. To this day, nearly 7 months later, I’m still reviewing the notes from this seminar and some of the techniques, strategies, and ideas gained from ONE DAY of 2017.

 

Lastly, I spent the final 3 days in Boston with a publishing company learning the ins and outs of writing and publishing a book. Thank you Black Card Books and Gerry Robert for sharing your insight into becoming an Author to establish yourself as an ‘authoritative’ person in no matter what industry or profession you are in.

Summer 2017 was phenomenal and full of growth, learning, love, and remarkable energy!

 

After an exciting (but short) few months living in Boston it was time to move. At the time this felt like the best decision for me and one that would allow me to take a step back, evaluate my life, understand what was important to me, and move forward as a better person.

I had dinner with a best friend of mine which I’m grateful to have reconnected with this year. We hung out a ton in Boston and we both realized as disconnected as we were, our lives were going in similar directions and it simply made sense. I intended to travel first thing the following morning but after we ate a four-course Italian meal topped off with some freshly brewed coffee I was convinced to leave that night. I said my farewells and hit the road.

Audiobooks ready, podcasts ready, and plenty of road snacks/drinks to keep me up! What an exciting and fun journey it was for my first road trip that was more than a few hours away. Without audio books or “voice notes” I think I may have gone crazy.

My first few weeks in North Carolina were much of the same as I was doing in Boston: Reading and writing a lot each day, reflecting, thinking, planning, and strategizing for what I was to do next. I kept up ALL of my routines from day 1. My first two months I didn’t wake up past 6AM. I limited alcohol, stayed focused on my work, started a freelance writing business, found my first client, made my first $20 on my own, and learned more than I could’ve ever imagined.

2017 was a year of embracing knowledge, accepting ignorance, and exploring my interests and personal passion more than anything else. To keep things optimistic, I used this time to discover more about myself (physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually) and to change the way I was living my life and my perspective of the world.

As you’ll see in the below pictures, North Carolina sunsets and sunrises are absolutely stunning. I was blown away each and every day and night by the sky!

 

Only a few weeks into July 2017 I found myself flying back to Boston with my dad to celebrate my uncle Joes 50th surprise birthday party on the beautiful Thompson Island! We stayed at the incredible Revere Hotel for a few nights and had a wonderful time!

As we were waiting for our boarding passes to depart from Boston, Lori Greiner walked into the airport behind us, though I didn’t have I time to pitch her on an idea I have, she was happy to take a picture which was awesome!

 

The return to North Carolina was different this time since I knew I had no other travel plans through the rest of 2017. I was fortunate to have found decent success freelance writing and managed to overwhelm myself with work. I finally felt deserving of the opportunities in front of me!

Only a few months into my freelance writing I realized that I was not going to be able to pay down debt and support myself doing that alone. I needed a job and spent the next few months writing as often as possible and finding a job that would enable me to continue the pursuit of my creative passions.

Over the next few months, I found myself dabbling in film/TV, practicing my writing more than ever before in my life, reading more books than I could’ve ever imagined, trying new things, exploring the area, and pushing my comfort zone as often as possible.

From surfing, mountain biking, and hiking to skydiving on my 25th birthday, I feel so lucky to have enjoyed so many amazing things this year with incredible people. 2017 was filled with so many new people and amazing experiences! Thank you to everyone!

 

I glazed over the fact that I was skydiving before. I couldn’t think of a better way to turn 25 than jumping out of a perfectly good plane! My anxiety and nerves immediately raced from 9AM the previous morning before we jumped when I called my friend Jess and asked her to jump with me. She immediately said “yes” and from that point on I knew I couldn’t back out.

Instead of writing about the moment, I’ll let some of the pictures do it justice and share a previous blog I’ve written (but didn’t share) about the experience and how amazing it was!

 

Oh, I didn’t get cut! I made it onto the TV Show Good Behavior thanks to TW Casting for hiring me as an extra. Wilmington, NC has an incredible history of film and TV. It was great to talk to producers, directors, actors, and get a sense for what it would be like working on a film/TV set for a career. I didn’t know what to expect and have a very limited film background. Luckily things worked out, I met some amazing people and hope to do more acting/film work in the future!

 

Did you find me in the pictures above? This was such a cool experience and I highly recommend you check out the TNT show Good Behavior! It’s a great story starring actress Michelle Dockery.

Anyway, 2017 has been filled with ups and downs, highs and lows, and a year to represent significant personal growth, reflection, and appreciation for life.

Since I’ve been slacking on posting on my blog, my goal for 2018 is to publish all sorts of creative writing practices I’ve done over the last year and share more with you all while working on many other creative projects for the year.

It’s been a cold start to 2018 with all of this arctic-like weather home in New England but I couldn’t be more happy to have seen several inches of snowfall a few days ago here in Wilmington, NC, where they rarely see anything more than a dusting a year.

We celebrated by walking around in the snow-fall, had a toasty fire to keep us warm, beverages handy to maintain our thirst, and laughter all around.

Now it’s time to get down to business, focus on what is most important for 2018 and remember to be present in each and every day. To stay engaged with each moment and appreciate all of the happenings in all of our lives.

I’m certain 2018 will be more adventurous and exciting than ever!

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P.S.

In the interest of not procrastinating any longer, I did not edit any of the writing on this post as of 1.7.2018.

Thanks for reading and I wish you all the very best and most beautiful 2018 imaginable!

One last thing. I took these selfies a while ago and realized I looked a bit like Ryan from The Office… What do you think?

 

Hack your Day; Find More Time To Thrive

Originally posted on Medium: Check it out below along with other recent posts!

Matthew Wetmore: Medium

Productivity Hacks: Find More Time And Motivation To Thrive!

There is no doubt that all of us (even Gary Vaynerchuk…I think?) need downtime.

The world moves fast. We live in a business economy which is “always-on”. This 24/7 lifestyle has allowed us to innovate and grow businesses in new and creative ways. Problems have also been created which eat away at our most valuable asset: time.

The depths of Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and the many other social outlets we use to share interesting yet often purposeless information with each other, deprive us our this valuable asset.

Many of us are in front of a screen long before sun up and far after sunrise. To dig into the negatives here requires an entire post of its own. That will be later this month.

Today I want to focus on how to hack into your daily life and make the necessary changes to find more time for whats important to you. Whether it’s time with family, playing with the kids, a forgotten passion or hobby, anything.

I also want to identify ways which I have learned to motivate myself when I feel the body and mind begin to fade. We all know the feeling at 2–2:30PM when the mind melts from existence into the ever too familiar food coma/sugar crash. You rush for caffeine but sometimes that’s no use. The damage has been done.

I write this with 0 intention of sharing diet/nutrition tips for energy maintenance, that also deserves its own article. Another good idea for later this month.

Let’s start with a few I’ve applied in my life and am yet to feel even slightly “disconnected”.

Quit The TV

This is sort of the “have your cake and eat it too” dilemma except with devices.

We have too much! Phones, laptops, tablets, TV’s, monitors, our lives are far to encompassed by screens which often eat away at our dreams.

The day I sold my TV was also the day I was no longer the “I read before bed” type of guy. That guy never learns.

Can you think of anything else you could do instead of melting into mind-numbing television each day of your life? With a little willpower, I’m certain you can; you’ll be glad you did.

Exercise

Write

Read

Cook

Clean

Organize

Work more..? (I know, this is not specific enough for you, me either but it’s staying)

I’m not saying TV is bad. I’m saying I hear so many people say they don’t have the time yet Netflix shows and Criminal Minds is a “priority”? Please don’t complain.

I credit the removal of my TV from the bedroom with improved sleep, better focus, improved mindfulness, and a deeper understanding of my goals and purpose.

I also credit it for the 50+ books I’ve read in both audio and paper format this year. I’ve learned a lot… I’ve never been more grateful for this in my life.

TV sucks anyway. With our phones and laptops able to access practically everything on cable TV, what’s the point? I’m not saying to spend MORE time on your laptop and phone watching TV, but avoid the distraction all together and establish disciplines with your TV consumption.

Detox from Social Media OR Limit Its Use With Intent

A TED talk I watched about the negative implications of social media fascinated me. I realized I was no longer posting on Instagram or Facebook and that Snapchat was just a time-suck. I told myself, “If I’m not adding or gaining anything of substantial value, why am I using it so much?”

I deleted them from my phone that day. I still “check” both, often at night, but only on my personal laptop instead of my phone all day.

No more rabbit hole. No more lost seconds, minutes, hours, and probably days of life. The lack of distractions alone has been tremendous.

Instead, I read and review articles/content/news on sites I prefer. Oh, I do use LinkedIn which has been rather engaging as of late.

Try a week away from social media. Try the “desktop only” method.

If it’s apart of your brand, business, or maybe you’re striving to become an influencer of some sort; fine. This isn’t for you.

For me, the lack of true productivity on these platforms led to a decision to give it up and see what happens.

The major downside? Lack of contribution to communities and groups I belong to. Facebook, for example, I will sit and comment/engage in one sitting opposed to checking throughout the day. I find I add more value this way.

I personally never had a problem with Twitter, nor used it very often, so I decided to keep it and actually start “tweeting”.

It won’t be easy and you may not even like it yet I’m certain you’ll find the same value as I did.

Listen To Motivational Videos/Programs

YouTube is king here.

Whether you’re into “self-help” books or not. Motivational content is a great way to find inspiration when energy is low.

Jocko Willink, Tony Robbins, Jim Rohn, Les Brown, Joe Rogan, Gary Vaynerchuk, I could go forever.

Search their names on YouTube combined with motivation and listen to a few. Not only will you be motivated but inspired to continue to improve yourself.

Do this when you’re feeling the day get away from you. It’ll help you maintain focus and prevail when the chips are down.

It’s easy to work hard when it’s easy, it’s how you react when things are NOT going well which defines you.

Take control of you’re time and own your day. Don’t allow your precious life to dwindle from the constant stimulation of input from the lives of others.

Creative and curious people can change the world. It’s difficult to be curious OR creative when we are constantly stimulated by other peoples ideas instead of our own.

Pay attention to the world and make more progress each day!

Lessons Learned From Julia Camerons “Artist’s Way Morning Pages”

Lessons Learned from Julia Cameron’s “Morning Pages”

Discipline

It takes willpower and discipline to wake up every morning early enough to write three hand-written long-form style pages each morning. It takes anywhere from 45–60 minutes on most days (sometimes more).

In order to do this productively I would; wake up at 5AM, drink a bottle of water, wash my face, brush my teeth, make my bed, write my 5 minute journal, make a cup of coffee or tea, do 10 push ups(at a minimum), stretch for 5–10 minutes, and then sit down to write.

With ambient sounds or acoustic music playing, I would gently flow into the art of writing my three lovely, sometimes irksome, morning pages.

The act of waking up early and focusing on important areas of my life has been and remains key to my joy each day.

I Can Write

Thanks, Jeff Goins. Check out his book, “You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One).

I wrote for years without much intention or purpose. A lot of which for personal growth, reflection, and education. It helps me find meaning in business, books, relationships, and life.

Then I started freelance writing and realized I had a LOT to learn. Grammar, copywriting, print, advertisements, email marketing; the list goes on and on.

I’ve written well over 400,000 words (maybe more, maybe less) this year which is an accomplishment I’m rather proud of.’

Much of this has been from my daily habit of writing. Thank you morning pages for the confidence to call myself a writer.

Enhanced Creativity

I never thought I was creative even though I always craved creation.

I enjoyed art, liked poetry, loved the design, and was a passionate writer. The problem was my lack of education to make things of my own.

Morning pages expanded my curiosity, creative capabilities, interests, and most importantly understand myself.

Use morning pages to plan your day, settle your emotions, think of new ways to work on relationships in your life, identify skills to work on, and unleash the power of your creative mind.

Be creative with your writing. Don’t judge your own work. Let yourself break the rules and do things against what you were taught in school.

Try writing in cursive, different sizes, do a bit of drawing, make lists, set goals, and anything else you can think of.

Try New Things

One of the best parts of the morning pages experience is the infamous “artist date”. An individual 2-hour exploration of a creative interest of your desire.

This can be a drawing class, yoga, meditation, painting, acting, a tour of a local attraction; anything you love to do and that will inspire creativity and new ideas.

Cameron says this is the most important aspect of rediscovering your creative interests. The only way to find comfort in creativity is to try new things.

The best artist date for me this summer was a chance to be on TV! I made it!

I appeared in several episodes of Good Behavior, a TNT show, as a club patron and pedestrian!

This was by far my favorite experience of the year and something I will be grateful for and remember for the rest of my life.

If you are interested in expanding your curiosity, creativity, or maybe you want a unique way to discover more about yourself; check out Julia Cameron’s Artist’s Way!

Follow me on my blog or find more of my writing on Medium!

How Do You Find Joy In Life?

Skydiving on my 25th birthday. This brought LOTS of joy to my life =)!

How to Find Out What Brings You Joy

What pulls you from the comfort of your sheets each day?

Is it your job? Your family? School?

Maybe you’re tired of your job and it’s time for a change. The autopilot life can be tough to break.

Joy exists everywhere, much like gratitude and appreciation, but can require a bit of effort to discover (or rediscover for some of you).

The feeling of being stuck can prevent you from pursuing things you love; even those which make you the happiest. I’ve realized this is something that will continuously occur in life. No if’s and’s or buts. It’s out of our control.

You get one life. If you’re suffering, frustrated, or struggling to find joy, it’s time you invest in yourself for the betterment of your future.

Take Time to Reflect

Start with an honest reflection of your life. Evaluate the failures, successes, wins, losses, and the deeply personal details of who you are. If this is a bit much, try just 6 months, or a year.

Make a list of all of the things you are proud of, failed at, learned, and accomplished.

Understand what you love to do and the things that bring you the most joy. Maybe you always wanted to be an athlete, a writer, painter, on TV, a comedian, you get the point.

Find ways to explore your childhood passions with a childlike sense of curiosity. I loved video games as a kid but realized I no longer find the same fulfillment I did when I was young. Writing, reading, hiking, mountain biking, and music are only a few of the hobbies which bring joy to my life.

Evaluate your life and what fires you up! Do you want to write a book, travel to another country, learn another language, learn how to draw, practice an instrument?

What is it you desire to achieve or accomplish in your life?

What are a few of those things you could do today which would bring you the most joy? Don’t wait. Figure out 2–3 things you can do TODAY, at the latest tomorrow, to find joy in your life.

Then take action!

Time To Take Action

Don’t wait, don’t overthink it, and please, please do not complain and go take action. Life is a surplus of opportunity waiting to be discovered. As Jim Rohn says, “Doors of opportunity comes to those who continually knock”.

Don’t stop knocking. The ‘you’ which you haven’t met yet is waiting to be found. Go find him.

So many of us reflect on our lives and learn of what brings us the most joy only to fall short of ever taking the first step.

I struggle with this every day; I’m already fighting reasons why I shouldn’t publish this but I am anyway. Even if nobody likes, comments, or even reads it at all.

Try something new, if you’re struggling with ideas here are a few examples:

►Journaling, Writing, Blogging, Reading

►Yoga, Crossfit, Spin Class, Pilates, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Etc

►Programming, Web Design, Photography, Video Production

►Take a class; Acting, Dance, Film, Creative Writing, Programming, (Anything!)

The simple commitment to something you enjoy will bring you joy. Be proud of your commitment to self-improvement and FOLLOW THROUGH!

Serve Others

Find a way to volunteer for a cause you believe in, offer your services to a non-profit, or get involved in your community.

When you offer to help others with no expectations of payment or reward, magic happens. You take action in things you believe in with passion, excitement, and energy because otherwise, you wouldn’t do those things.

Indulge in service to others in a way which you do things with no expectations of anything in return.

There is no easier way to express joy, gratitude, and appreciation than the gesture to help others.

Ask around the office for volunteer opportunities. I’m sure a quick Google search of “volunteer opportunities near me” will provide ample results.

Find a cause you’re passionate about; a surfing charity, volunteer golf sponsor, offer advice in a field you are an expert in; anything along those lines.

Have Fun

Joy, much like love, comes from doing what you love and doing it with who you love most.

Meaningful connections with others engaged in the things you value most will make you happy.

Make the time for what you love. Give up some TV or other non-productive tasks for an investment in your personal joy.

Find a way to escape so deep into an activity so you achieve a “flow state”. Check out this TED talk on flow states. This is a deep state of focus achieved by athletes, authors, and many more. You become immersed in the moment without any thought towards any other aspect of life except what is happening right now.

What is your thing? What do you want to try or rediscover?

I write, meditate, practice yoga, mountain bike, hike, play golf, and spend time with loved ones to find my joy. How do you find yours?

Rediscover what brings you joy in life and enhances your life, you’ll be glad you did.

The Law of Attraction Strikes Again…

What is a coincidence?

I’m a firm believer in “The Law of Attraction”, and the idea that what you choose to think about is what you will become. This isn’t strictly positive thinking to help refrain from negativity, we all have that. With that said, I realized that I used to focus on things that were not constructive to the growth of my life. I needed to focus on things that I could control instead of complaining about my problems. I created my problems for myself.

Where I spent my time and who I spent it with was defining the person I was becoming. This wasn’t all bad, but much of my life was controlled by habits and routines that I couldn’t even explain. All I knew at the time is that change was necessary to make even the smallest of progress.

I want to share this story because for reasons which are inexplicable to me at the moment. People and ideas continue to come to me as I focus more and more attention on the problems, as well as potential ideas that I have in my life. I had a very unique experience over the weekend and I feel that sharing it may provide some value.

I’ll do my best to keep it brief.

My financial situation has been rather interesting since I left my job, moved to NC, and started a business as a Freelance Writer. Of course, I knew this transition would not be easy. I left a lucrative field in a thriving market to pursue a passion project… what in the hell was I thinking? The answer to that I’m still not sure, maybe I’ll go back soon…

Anyway – I sat at a local coffee shop running through my finances, debts, student loans, credit cards, etc… As someone who didn’t grow up wealthy, I’m sure you understand this is not a “fun” thing to do. It is necessary, however, in order to find ways to make the changes to improve my life. I made some phone calls, texted some friends, and decided that a Financial Advisor is a great option to help me with this decision.

But wait, what business does a Financial Advisor have with an in-debt 24-year-old college graduate? Not much…

I was fired up, ready to tackle the financial elephant of my life and take control. After finishing up my 2nd coffee and some work for the day, I headed to a driving range to clear my mind, hit some balls, and think about what I could do.

I happened to strike up a conversation with a guy on the range as I walked up, not unusual for me, but odd at first nonetheless. After a little small talk and some “closest to the pin” games, we talked business. Let’s call him Jim (his name wasn’t Jim).

Jim turns out to be a retired Financial Advisor who consulted for major organizations for over 25 years. Jim took a liking to me and since I had all of these major questions on my mind, I pitched him. A 30-second overview of my life, financial situation, and major life goals. I saw no value in holding back, who knows if I’ll see Jim again. Though I’m hopeful our paths will cross again.

The only way I can describe such an experience is divine timing. I trust that everything in life that happens to us happens for a reason. Today, I’m confident in saying that I have a goal plan to tackle my finances and focus on my business with a clear mind.

The poor decisions I have made and adversity I have faced have gotten me here today. I now realize the importance of seeing opportunity in adversity. Be mindful of your decisions, they will shape who you become, and there is a reason you are where you are today.

Why a CONSISTENT Morning Routine is Essential

What are your morning rituals?

Human beings are capable of remarkable achievement in life if we CHOOSE to MAKE time for what matters in our lives. The choices we make define us, which starts each morning that we pull our tired bodies out of bed to start the day. I get it, you’re probably saying “I’m not a morning person”, or “I need my sleep”, and I understand. I also believe that you don’t NEED to consider yourself a “morning person” to achieve better results in life – be it professional or personal growth.

Below are a few morning rituals to help find joy before anything could possibly go wrong in your day. Things always go wrong, prepare for them and do something important before it gets the best of you.

  • Exercise (fuel my body)
  • Reading (stimulate my mind)
  • Writing (organize thoughts and empty the mind of all morning clutter)
  • Studying (a desirable hobby, skill, or important daily practice you are learning)
  • Meditation (practice gratitude, appreciation, and mindfulness)
  • Practice creativity (creative writing, learn an instrument, drawing, painting, etc…)
  • Prepare breakfast for your family (I’m certain your kids will love you)
  • Tell your family members you love them (genuinely)
  • What brings you joy? What can you practice for 15-30 minutes that would make your day a PERSONAL success? Do that one thing. Put a smile on your face and keep it with you all day.
  • I hope you see my point…

Find a REASON to wake up early. Many people say “I don’t have time”, or “I’m too busy”, when in reality that often means – “I don’t care enough to make the time”. Turn your morning into something you look forward to doing something you love.

Before I share a few of my morning rituals, I want to share how much this morning practice has changed my life.

I found this guy JustinGuitar who teaches guitar online and decided I was going to practice every morning for fifteen minutes. Over one year later I can play more than I ever had imagined. Next, I wanted to start writing but wasn’t sure where to start. I loved writing and applied this same practice to creating 30 minutes of time every morning to free-write about a wide variety of topics. Sometimes freewriting, creative writing, stories, chapters of a book I’m working on, etc…

Recently I’ve been using my early morning study to learn HTML, CSS, and WordPress. My goal is to build expert level skills in web development and design to expand my skills as a Freelance Writer.

The driving factor for learning these skills is Automattic, an insightful company which strives to power over 50% of the websites on the Internet (28% now I believe). I’m pursuing a position as a #HappinessEngineer, which is the first line of customer support for all things WordPress and other Automattic products. This is a company I’ve been following since hearing a Tim Ferriss podcast (shocking) and I was fascinated ever since. It is a dream opportunity that I feel well-qualified and ready for. Maybe they’ll hire me…

I had a realization through my education that I could basically learn any skill or hobby I desired in a short period of time if I focused on one specific task each morning. I’m not saying you’ll be an expert, but I am saying the power of a consistent morning routine making time for important things to your life is vital to happiness. Maybe you make time after work, or at lunch, which is great. I use the morning because I love my solitude and alone time. I think, reflect, and analyze important aspects of life to find areas for which I can improve.

Here are five things I do each morning to put a smile on my face and crush each day. This doesn’t ALWAYS work out, I fail a lot, unfortunately, but it is always my way of looking at uncertainty in the face and saying “NOT TODAY!” I know that when things are going bad, I can look forward to the morning because I’m grateful to have another day closer to achieving my dreams.

  1. Wake up at 5:30-6 AM and make my bed
  2. Write a 5-Minute Journal and find things to be grateful for in my life.
  3. Brew a cup of coffee or tea (tea if I’ve been overdoing it on caffeine).
  4. 10 push-ups, sit-ups, and air-squats OR 10-15 minutes of a yoga sequence, typically Vinyasa to warm my body and stretch muscles.
  5. 10 Minute Meditation and write my 3 long-hand “Morning Pages” inspired by Tim Ferriss.

So I ask you, what do you do each morning? Do you lie in bed dreading the thought of leaving the comfort of your sheets? Or do you attack the day, do something you love, be grateful for what you have and CRUSH the day with a smile?

A smile, positive attitude, and optimism CAN change your life. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise and go crush the day!

10 Quotes of Inspiration

What is it that inspires you?

Each day I wake up and find inspiration through practicing gratitude and appreciation and looking at what is right in my life. I read, write, and learn each day to remember that life is a marathon and not a sprint. I could certainly use more patience than I have now.

I come across a ton of quotes that I store in my journal each day. Below is a list of my top ten most recent inspirational quotes.

What are your favorite quotes?

Enjoy! Please like, share, and comment below!

  1. “Being a giver doesn’t require extraordinary acts of sacrifice. It just involves a focus on acting in the interests of others” Adam Grant, Author of “Give and Take” and “Option B”
  2. “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”Walt Disney
  3. “Those that are a friend to themselves are sure to be a friend to all” Seneca
  4. “It’s not that I’m smart. It’s that I stay with problems longer.” – Albert Einstein
  5.  “He who has a why to live for can bear with almost how” – Victor Frankl
  6.  “On their deathbeds, people don’t think about their work or their life experiences or the items remaining on their to-do list. They think about love and family.” Rick Rubin
  7.  “If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is part of yourself. What isn’t part of ourselves doesn’t disturb us” Herman Hesse
  8. “It means much not to be spoiled by intimacy with riches; and he is truly great who is poor amidst riches”Seneca
  9. “If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals” – J. K. Rowling
  10. “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them” – John F. Kennedy