"With each passing year, fear [of aging] creeps a little closer..."  As we age we think more and more about prolonging our lives. Maybe we feel we missed out on some aspect because of the choices we made, or maybe we just want to feel we lived our lives to the fullest until the very end. Whatever the case, most of Western society continues seek the magic pill to feeling, looking and performing our best. Is there a secret to perpetual youth and longevity? Maybe the answers are simpler than we think?

Aging pro freeskier, Mike Douglas, traveled to Japan seeking youth. Not only are there 500 ski areas in Japan, making the destination an easy choice, the Japanese are also the longest living population of the world's major industrialized countries.

At the end of day, the secret to growing old with grace is probably not found in complicated diet formulas, yoga rituals or workout routines (not that any of those things are detrimental to our health),  but more about eating well, giving our bodies respect and time to strengthen and recover, setting goals and not rushing our success.

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished. ~Lao Tzu

Yuichiro Miura, famous for being the man who skied down Everest, and "...the most badass old dude on the planet" now 88, skis over a 100 days a year, and attributes part of his success to goal setting. He says, "at any age, you should have a goal set to always be stronger and healthier than you are right now".

We all have the secret to longevity living inside of us. Create attainable goals, be forgiving of yourself, wake up every morning and choose to be a better version of you than yesterday, be strong in your convictions, laugh, take time to nourish your body and keep sight on your destination. Get out there and chase life!

Motivational Monday – REI’s “Adventure in Real Life”

Motivational Monday – REI’s “Adventure in Real Life”

"My plan never included this many roadblocks. But maybe the only difference between 'roadblock' and 'adventure' was my perspective..."

Life often doesn't go quite as planned. In fact, many of us are familiar with the old saying, "The only constant in life is change." Depending on the day and your mood when such change strikes, it can be difficult to embrace it fully for the adventure that it is! REI's short film "Adventure in Real Life" touches on the importance of changing perspective in order to appreciate experiences as they come; for better or for worse.

(Video Credit: REI)

"Slowly I discovered that nature was all the more beautiful because of the unplanned and the unexpected."

"I guess life is like that; full of setbacks and roadblocks. But when we love something enough, we can turn any obstacle into an Odyssey. The truth is, life isn't going to go as planned... The only question is will you choose to call it an adventure?"

Nothing forces someone to embrace a humble attitude like a tough challenge. You're bound to become kinder and more sympathetic to others and their own obstacles, too. Embracing your failures will better prepare you for your next great adventure, and remind you that you are indeed human.

The most efficient use of your mental and emotional energy is to focus on yourself first; what do you think of your efforts? How do you prioritize personal growth? What makes you truly happy? What makes you feel accomplished? While the validation of others can be a temporary relief, your own validation will provide long term satisfaction in any situation.

Motivational Monday – Discovering & Spreading Light During Dark Times

Motivational Monday – Discovering & Spreading Light During Dark Times

"Love creates a communion with life. Love expands us, connects us, sweetens us, ennobles us.

Love springs up in tender concern, it blossoms into caring action. It makes beauty out of all we touch. In any moment we can step beyond our small self and embrace each other as beloved parts of a whole."

Jack Kornfield

We know all too well that the world can be a scary, overwhelming and confusing place; and lately there seems to be a lot going on. Between natural disasters and acts of violence, headlines are dreaded and draining before the day has even begun. Despite the darkness during challenging times, there is something else going on that's worth noting.

People are donating their time and resources to charities and various efforts of all kinds. They're giving all that they can, however they can. It's during the darkest times that humanity can shine the brightest! That light is putting love and kindness into action, and we're all capable of putting this energy into practice.

Beyond becoming involved in your community and in charities that speak to you, inward reflection is an essential aspect of processing tragic events that are beyond our control. Truth be told, the majority of us can only control how we react to such things. A simple meditation practice can cultivate the love & kindness that is so important following disasters, and can even be done in spare moments throughout your daily life.

Loving Kindness Meditation

Begin by finding a quiet or special space where you feel comfortable and relaxed. Take deep breaths for a few minutes, focusing on a soft heart and releasing all plans and precautions. First, recite the below phrases inwardly and focus on your own well-being.

May I be filled with loving kindness.

May I be safe for inner and outer dangers.

May I be well in body and mind. 

May I be at ease and happy. 

While repeating the phrases, allow images to come and go naturally, and focus on allowing the feelings to fully permeate your body & mind.

When you are feeling a strong sense of self love, you can then feel confident in expanding the meditation to include others in your own social circles, then your community, and finally, humanity as a whole. Repeat the same phrases as above, but imagine sending the feelings outwards to others.

May you be filled with loving kindness. 

May you be safe for inner and outer dangers.

May you be well in body and mind.

May you be at ease and happy.

Motivational Monday – ‘Where We Belong’

Motivational Monday – ‘Where We Belong’

"When the day is full of potential, being lazy isn't a consideration.."

Throughout human history, people have gone out into nature in search of self discovery, connectedness and transformation. At times when we're feeling most unsure of ourselves and our place in the world, venturing into the wilderness can provide clarity and motivation. In a day and age when we're bombarded with technology, constant bustle and triggering stresses, removing yourself from your immediate environment can reveal the potential for seeing yourself elsewhere in the world.

Someone's perception may shift along with a new vast and calming landscape....

Nature may initiate change help you to abandon your obsession over problematic frames of mind. Through that clarity, unexpected solutions will begin to form....

Mental static will melt away and the attachment to your version of reality will in turn begin to loosen, becoming fluid and neutral... 

Join 5 women as they traverse from Daniels Lake to Skwawka Lake in British Columbia. Along the way they discover that the wilderness truly is where they belong, despite the doubts that everyday life can instill. Though they were each hesitant to make such a trek solo, collectively their knowledge and spirit lifted them all up to greater heights.

(Video Credit: Arc'teryx)

"We're walking on the back of history and then it invites us in... We listen to it breathing. What we do is keep moving; we make a decision, we go. This is our real life. This is where we belong."

Nature invites us to open into awareness and discover where we belong - when will you answer the call? 

Motivational Monday – Break Free of Your Comfort Zone

Motivational Monday – Break Free of Your Comfort Zone

One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again..."

– Abraham Maslow

Countless people operate day to day within their comfort zone; a silent but common ailment. The longer someone stays within it's confines, the less happy they tend to be. Stepping beyond the boundaries of what's familiar is essential to finding happiness, accomplishing goals and discovering your true passions in life. So why do so many of us choose to stay there if it's slowly draining us?

Big changes take lots of energy. Everything in life takes energy, which can be translated into motivation. If we lack the motivation necessary to make big life changes, we as humans find reasons to remain in a state of stasis; after all, stepping beyond our current circumstances could end up being uncomfortable and even scary!

But if you do not journey past all that you know, you're deliberately robbing yourself of 3 beautiful things life has to offer on the other side....

You are not growing

Shawn Achor, a positivity psychologist and author, states that happiness is "the joy you feel moving towards your potential."

We've all heard the saying that if you aren't growing and moving forward, you're really slipping backwards. Progress is a key ingredient to happiness in life! As long as you remain within your comfort zone, you're not growing because you're making no movement towards progress or growth. Remember, growth is about becoming more than you currently are and without experiencing all that is outside of you, you'll never get there. 

You're not out there trying new things

What are you passionate about? The luckiest of us discover what we love doing early on in life, and we're able to follow our hearts as we spend our lives mastering the art of it. But if you're anything like the majority of people, you spend the first two or three decades of life searching and testing and wondering what it is that our hearts desire.... And that's only if you're diving into one thing after another, and constantly trying new things.

Your comfort zone isn't about getting out there, challenging yourself and discovering. In fact, you'll rarely try anything new and if you do, it's typically not of your own free will. 

You're becoming comfortable with settling 

The worst fate of all! We all know those people that had a dream straight out of college and then life happened. They settled for a life that was good enough without being too much; they decided to remain comfortable and unchallenged versus chasing tirelessly after their passions. 

And this situation alone isn't the worst of it. If you become conditioned to settle in general, you will fail at recognizing prime opportunities that come along throughout life. You'll reject them out of the fear of leaving what you've always known. 

Don't worry - there is still hope! Anyone and everyone can expand their comfort zones and even wander beyond them in a healthy and enjoyable way. The real trick to beating is to make feeling uncomfortable a conscious and constant habit. The more you do it, the less resistance you'll experience to the feeling itself and to the actions associated with it. 

The old adage 'one step at a time' truly comes into play here. That first step is the most essential because it's the only one where we're facing our fears directly. Second and third steps are significantly less terrifying, and before you know it you're running from your comfort zone with a smile on your face. The next time around will be that much easier, as your confidence builds.

Here are 3 things you can do to develop the self confidence and strength necessary to step outside your comfort zone regularly...

1.) Make a list of your procrastinations

What are all of the things that you've been putting off and continue to put off? Try to think of everything, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, that you've been procrastinating on for a few weeks or more. 

2.) Start checking off things from that list, beginning with the smallest

Don't go chasing the whales on your list; begin with the small fish and work your way up. It's essential that you take that first step and experience success as quickly as possible. 

3.) Continue moving forward 

It's all about momentum from here. Continue moving forward by stepping further and further from your comfort zone until you feel ready to tackle whatever comes your way!

Your resolve is a muscle - the more you exercise it, the stronger it becomes. Before you know it, spending substantial amounts of time beyond your comfort zone will become the new norm. 

Motivational Monday – Embracing Solitude

Motivational Monday – Embracing Solitude

A man can be himself only so long as he is alone, and if he does not love solitude, he will not love freedom, for it is only when he is alone that he is really free.

 Arthur Schopenhauer

Though we have all relied on our social connections with one another to advance as humans, time spent alone is crucial to our well-being - and is often put on the back burner. In a world that is constantly moving, loud, changing and demanding, we can easily become drained and robbed of creative energies and clarity if we aren't careful.

Unfortunately for many of us, loving solitude doesn't come naturally! It can take a lot of practice and patience in order to become comfortable on our own, but once we do, the benefits are undeniable. Solitude allows you to reconnect with yourself and your truest desires without the expectations and distraction of others. It can also stoke the fires of creativity by allowing a safe space to explore ideas and feelings freely. Most of all, it can clear your mind of stress and bring about calmness and clarity. Inner peace is perhaps the most important benefit of embracing solitude.

Here are some of the most productive ways to spend time alone:

1.) Create a personal space in your home that is dedicated to you and only you. Whether it's a corner of a room, an entire room or the whole house, make everything about it appealing to you. Decorate in a way that is welcoming and inspiring, and set aside time to be in that environment regularly.

2.) Make a goal to become expert in something completely different & new. Research states that it takes 10,000 hours of dedicated focus on something to become an expert - what better time to get started than now?

3.) Prioritize 'me time'. It's perfectly healthy to carve out blocks of time in day to day life just for oneself. Doing something that relives stress and calms worries will spill over into other areas of life, too!

4.) Start keeping a journal. Being alone offers time to explore our innermost feelings, desires, fears, hopes, worries and ideas. Keeping all that down in one place allows you to revisit past moments for inspiration.

5.) Learn how to cat nap! As every busy adult knows, naps are a luxury that we should be accepting whenever they come our way. But wouldn't it be nice to fit a short nap into your schedule a few times a week? By napping now and then, you will experience much needed respite from daily stresses on both your mind and body.

6.) Work on your confidence by doing an activity that you would normally only do with others. This could mean you hit the slopes for a solo session, or jam out on your guitar all alone. No matter what it is, the extra practice and focus you give to the task itself will result in increased skill next time you meet up with your friends!

7.) Pursue learning more within your occupation beyond the proximity of others. Only if you genuinely enjoy your career, that is! It can be very fulfilling to further yourself without the confines that your employer or office guidelines dictate. 

Motivational Monday – “Words of Wilderness”

Thank you to Pete McBride and Vital Films for creating this beautiful tribute to the wilderness of the United States in honor of the Wilderness Act's 50th Anniversary.

"We simply need that wild country available to us, even if we never do more than drive to its edge and look in. For it can be a means of reassuring ourselves of our sanity as creatures, a part of the geography of hope.."

Wallace Stegner

Motivational Monday – Your Secret Weapon to Success

Motivational Monday – Your Secret Weapon to Success

"Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit at home and think about it. Go out and get busy."

Dale Carnegie

Phil Drolet, creator and author of the successful 'optimal living' blog The Feel Good Lifestyle, didn't always have the success that he'd hoped for. But when he  fianlly decided to take that leap of faith and embark on the journey of entrepreneurship, he utilized a method he fondly refers to as the "All In Method", or AIM. He argues that society tends to commit to something and give up on the effort when the going gets tough, or the next exciting endeavor appears. But by allowing yourself to be wishy-washy and throwing the towel in when things become difficult or don't go your way, you rob yourself of opportunity and success!

Bottom line: If you truly want to achieve something, you cannot do it half way - you must push all of your chips into the middle.

When you force yourself into this state of fear and excitement, uncertainty and hope, something quite amazing happens. You'll discover strengths that you never knew existed. Parts of you will awaken and shake off the dust of the familiar, and you'll harness the courage to forge ahead despite all of that. 

Here's how you do it....

There's a strategy you'll want to put into play in order for your attempts to be successful. And even before you begin creating your plan, doubts can begin to creep into the mind. What if I'm not good at this? What if it's too scary? What if it doesn't work, no matter how hard I try? Let's silence the inner voice that's unsure about the plunge, and encourage the one that's excited and ready!

1.) Identify Your Project or Goal

Sometimes it can be a struggle to identify what you truly and deeply want. But in order to begin your journey toward success, you'll need to first have a clear vision in mind!

What kind of project is this? 

Is it goal-based, or relationship-based?

Is it a sort of spiritual journey?

2.) Test Drive your Aspirations

Give yourself a reasonable time frame in which to commit fully to something. It could be anywhere from 30 days to 6 months, but allow yourself that clear start and end time. This allows you the flexibility of 'strategically committing'; you're now free to participate in life 100%, test things out and find out if it's enhancing your life before you sign on the dotted line, so to speak. 

People view time frames as a safety net, and you can use this to your advantage. Anyone can do something for 30 days, right?

How long are you willing to commit for? 

2.) Evaluate, Evaluate and Evaluate Again 

Once you've begun the 'strategic commitment' plan, you'll want to keep track of any challenges and successes starting right away. Taking stock of your feelings and results from this project will help you not only deem it worthy of your effort and time, but you'll also find momentum and motivation from seeing yourself improve.

Ask yourself the following...

- Is this project working?

- Am I enjoy this?

- Is it leading me in the right direction?

- Where am I struggling?

- What bad habits do I need to cut out?

- What support do I need from others?

Once you've made the choice and committed to it for X amount of time... Go for it! 

Motivational Monday – Have Less, Live More

Motivational Monday – Have Less, Live More

"When I let go of what I have, I receive what I need."

- Lao Tzu

What's the one thing that we can never get back? Time. Our time is perhaps the most finite and valuable resource we each have as we go through life. Each moment you choose what you spend it on, whether you dip into tomorrow's time in order to do something today, and even risk it all looking for thrills.

Those of us who spend their time buying the biggest, newest, most flashy toys focus their energy (and time) on possessions. But do all those possessions really make for a happier life overall? One could argue that certain possessions add joy, freedom and even creativity to a life - but no matter what, you can't get the time back.

Credit card debt in the United States alone is approximately $750 billion. Imagine what things would be like if people chose to focus on saving more and spending less! We'd each have more flexibility to give to the causes that meant the most to us, and to invest our time in the same ways.

To take that another step further, why don't more people practice genuine gratitude for all that they do have, rather than focusing on what they need next? There's never been a point in human history when we've had so much and been so unhappy despite all of it. So what can you do to change it all?

Practice gratitude! Wake up and immediately remind yourself of everything that you're thankful for. Write it down, meditate on it, brainstorm while in the shower - whatever works best for you. Focus on yourself and those that you care most about rather than what you have or don't have. When you're able to live without placing importance on belongings, you'll find that you already have everything you need to live and be truly happy...

Motivational Monday – 5 Ways to Get Out of That Rut

Everyone has found themselves in a place where all you can ask yourself is, "What am I doing?" Whether you are feeling stuck at your job or struggling to achieve even the most basic of goals, there is a way out of the rut! Here are 5 steps to take which help you regroup and focus back in on what's most important.

1.) Unplug and Refocus

Some of us find ourselves renewed by spending time alone, and others generate momentum by surrounding themselves with many friends in a fun and lively setting. No matter how you recharge, it's important to unplug while you do it. Disconnect from the technological part of life and spend time taking inventory of your life. What are you happy about? What are you unhappy about? What can you do to make it better?

Spending time examining your experience of life is crucial. Without self examination there's no room for growth. It can help you recollect your energy and efforts, notice differences between healthy and toxic relationships, and carve out new habits and paths to get you to the end.

2.) Journal Every Day

The human mind is a problem-solving machine, but it can run into difficulty when thoughts are scattered and energy isn't focused and put to effective use. Writing down your thoughts can be one of the first steps to changing your entire life! There are many reasons why keeping a journal is recommended by most of the world's enlightened and successful people. But if it seems like a daunting task, start with something fresh. Discuss problems that came up during the day, different opportunities, ideas and potential solutions.

Once you get into the habit of setting time aside each day to journal, adopt a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) or CPSP (Creative Problem Solving Process) layouts. Structure and formalized routine can help you focus on specific areas that need the most attention. 

3.) Ask for Help 

No one will ever disrespect you if you genuinely ask them for their guidance and help. We're naturally wired to avoid stressful situations, including initiating vulnerable conversations with people who don't know us. But the fact is that mentors and guides are all around us in life, if we can only break free from our own insecurities and seek them out. 

Reach out to people that inspire you to be more, and those who understand you and/or your situation. Most people will be honored by your outreach and will do all they can to help you succeed.

4.) Go For It 

There comes a point when you simply must take action. Walk the walk, then talk the talk! A common mistake that most of us make is waiting to 'feel like it', or for that surge of motivation to come sweeping in out of nowhere. Don't wait for the right moment; just begin. Get started with baby steps and take it one day at a time, little by little.

To put it into perspective... The time will go by whether you take the action or not! 

5.) Take the Leap of Faith

You may not notice it until you're more confident about your decisions, have settled into a routine and are living in a place of progress... But this is the time to take that leap of faith. You've adopted new habits and your new goals are in focus; it's time to drop the negativity and anything that drained you or distracted from your pursuits. 

Ask for input from your mentors, discuss the pros and cons, and then just do it! Without taking this essential but scary step, you will remain stuck. 

Motivational Monday – Discipline Is King

Motivational Monday – Discipline Is King

Discipline is quite different than it's partner-in-crime, motivation. But it is perhaps the single most important factor in the equation to success!

Motivation ebbs and flows and can change in a moment, adapting to it's surroundings and external conditions. Discipline, however, is that thing you call upon to climb the toughest mountains - or the tasks you know you must complete but lack the motivation to do so. If you are effective at managing yourself and your own efforts in the world, your discipline will come from within you. It will will call upon your feelings and mood toward a certain task/habit and use them toward achieving that which is important to you. Discipline is a muscle you exercise so that your life can consistently reflect your values; motivation doesn't always have the same follow through...

There are several ways you can exercise your discipline muscles, and many things to be aware of if you wish to improve in this area.

Remove Your Feelings From the Equation

Maybe your goal is to get up each morning at 5 am and workout for an hour. Guess what? That early hour will roll around the next morning and you'll want to hit the snooze button.What's lacking? Motivation!

The biggest impediment to success is that we are all dictated by our feelings and emotions. Instead of seeing reaching our goals as the ultimate prize, we expect to be reward all along the way. And be honest - if you did hit the snooze button once, twice, or three times, wouldn't you finally roll out of bed feeling worse than if you'd simply gotten up despite your feelings?

"Discipline replaces motivation because you show up consistently. The goal is too important to allow feelings to get in the way. Stephen R. Covey 

If you rely on your feelings, you are significantly less inclined to put 100% into that task before you because your actions are being entirely dictated by immediate emotional states. Discipline, in the other hand, will show up time and time again, no matter how you feel in the moment. A disciplined person recognizes that the ultimate goal is the true purpose, therefor it is crucial to remain diligent until the end.

Focus On 1% Gains 

Slow and steady wins the race, right? The smaller, gradual and consistent improvements are what ultimately separates those who achieve and those who fall short. These short improvements will lead up to marginal gains and set you apart from the rest. The key is to start small and achievable changes that get you that much closer to your goal.

What Is Your Daily 'Why'?

It is of the utmost importance that you discover the underlying motivation behind the goal you are pursuing. If you lack the compelling reasons to reach your goal, maintaining your discipline will be difficult to near impossible. 

"The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to broken." Samuel Johnson

Something will always come up in day to day life, big or small, that will seem to conspire against you and challenge your resolve. Give in and your success will be squashed; all your efforts will have been in vain. When such moments arise, you'll need a strong desire behind achieving your goals. 

Continue to be persistent in the face of fears and adversity by clinging to a strong 'why'. After all, you're worth it and so are your goals! 

Motivational Monday – ‘Within Reach’

"Feeling empowered is something that you have to take..."

Lynn Hill, professional climber 

(Film Credit: Talweg Creative)

REI partners with Outside Magazine to discuss and explore women's approach to outdoors adventuring. Both groups aim to ensure that women are equally inspired, supported and equipped to embrace the great outdoors.

Shelma Jun, narrator of the 'Within Reach' documentary, is the founder of Flashy Fox and the Women's Climbing Festival. She often writes for publications like Climbing and Outside magazines.

Motivational Monday – “Preserving One Square Inch of Silence”

Gordon Hempton is a self-declared "sound tracker", constantly in search of vanishing sounds from all corners and crevices and cracks on this earth. According to Hempton, the most precious sound of them all (and the one that is most endangered) is in fact silence.

"The Hoh Valley is the quietest, least noise-polluted place in the entire lower 40," states Hempton. "I don't know if I can save silence, but I know that I can try."

Here is his story below...

Preserving One Square Inch of Silence from Great Big Story on Vimeo.

But why is silence worth finding, practicing and preserving? 

4 Health Benefits of Being Silent 

1.)  Heightens Sensitivity - 100 scientists went on a retreat to study the importance of silence, and found that eliminating speech heightens awareness in many other areas. The practice of vipassana meditation focused on breathing, which they found to heighten sights, sounds, emotions, thoughts, intentions and sensations in general.

2.) Relieves Stress - When sound waves reach the brain, the amygdala (the part of your brain associated with emotions and memory formation) is activated, which leads to the release of stress hormones. Believe it or not, a mere 2 or 3 minutes of silence can release more tension in the brain and body than any exposure to relaxing music!

3.) Improves Memory - A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that adults who walked alone for 40+ minutes three times a week for a year had noticeable brain growth in the hippocampus, which is associated with spatial memory. Improve your memory consolidation by getting outdoors!

4.) Fights Insomnia - If you're someone who suffers from insomnia, depression and/or fatigue, mindfulness meditation can do you a world of good. Mindfulness meditation involves focusing in and bringing attention to your breath, which consequently brings the individual into the present moment.

We live in a very bustling, loud world, full of TVs, cell phones, music and people. But we could all use a little quiet time now and then; mentally, emotionally and physically. Incorporating silence into your daily routine, even if it's only 5-15 minutes, can benefit you in many areas of life.

Motivational Monday – 3 Steps to Motivating Yourself

Motivational Monday – 3 Steps to Motivating Yourself

We've all been there - we really, really want to achieve a particular goal, but instead we procrastinate, make excuses and generally fail to follow through... Again and again and again! Overall, people are great at imagining what we want to do but can't seem to cross the finish line on most of our goals. So what is the missing link? What are we all forgetting about when we create our bullet lists, mind maps and routines?

Our feelings!

Research shows that trying to fight your feelings about a particular situation will only amplify their intensity. And thanks to the way that our brains function, feelings will beat out thoughts every time. With that in mind, emotions and feelings play a crucial roll in getting anything done; we require thoughts to plan, but only feelings can inspire us to act.

Here are 3 steps to harnessing your emotions & getting more done...

1.) Focus On Rewards

Just as when we were children, being rewarded feels great and being punished feels bad. Because they each incite such strong emotional reaction on each end of the spectrum, they can work wonders for motivating you. In fact, research shows that rewards account for 75% of the reasoning behind why you do anything. So treat yourself to a pedicure after acing that exam you've been studying tirelessly for, or take a weekend getaway after a month of long days at the office.

What if there doesn't seem to be any reward motivating enough to get you going? Try the 'commitment device' approach instead. For example, give your friend $100. If you complete your task/goal within the committed time frame, you get the money back. If you don't, you lose it completely and your friend is $100 richer...

Suddenly those items you've been putting off for 2 weeks seem much more important!

2.) Get Peer Pressure

The common saying goes along the lines of, "You are the 5 people who surround yourself with the most." If this is true, are you who you want to be? Spending time around the sort of individuals that you strive to be like makes it far less stressful or difficult to do the things you know you should be doing.

Friendship and it's benefits, challenges and hidden elements has long been studied. From an interview, author Carlin Flora of "Friendfluence" states:

"Research shows over time, you develop the eating habits, health habits and even career aspirations of those around you. If you’re in a group of people who have really high goals for themselves you’ll take on that same sense of seriousness.."

Make friends with people that will encourage you to challenge yourself, and serve as a support system from beginning to end.


3.) Get Positive

If you're like the majority of the world, procrastination is most likely to happen on a day that wasn't ideal. We woke up late, didn't get enough sleep, still haven't had our morning coffee or got into a fight with our partner on our way out the door. Oh,science doesn't lie; happiness increases productivity and makes you more successful!

But what if we can't seem to shake the blues? What if we just aren't feeling it?

Check in on and celebrate the progress you've already made. Nothing is more motivating than witnessing and appreciating your own progress. It will get you through to the next accomplishment, and reassure you that you can do this.

Motivational Monday – Emotional Spring Cleaning

Motivational Monday – Emotional Spring Cleaning

We're all familiar with spring cleaning the house - closets to be decluttered, old boxes to be sorted through, blinds to be dusted and unused items to be given away... But how often do we turn our focus to the baggage in our emotional closets? Too many of us suffer from messy habits, crowded feelings and ideas that we've clung to for far too long. Perhaps this spring is the perfect time to practice a bit of emotional minimalism!

Do away with the clutter you've tucked away and allowed to gather dust in your heart and mind. Replace it with something fresh, inspiring and altogether motivational.

Minimize Grudges

Old baby clothes that no longer fit our children pile up in the corner of your closets, because it's  tough to let them go. Your ex-boyfriend's t-shirts still claim a space in your drawers, even though you know you'll never again wear them.. Why do we insist on keeping it all?

Items that have emotional memories associated with them become a physical representation of that moment in time. But we do the same thing with grudges! Sometimes they're linked to photos we tuck away and look at secretly, other times it can be simply a feeling. Toss out the items and the feelings! Let go of the desire to seek revenge or hold onto anger - focus on forgiveness and take each moment as it comes, free of any roots from the past or worries about the future.

Minimize Pessimism

Use the same strategy when dealing with your negative thinking habits as you would with old bags of clothes on their way to the donation bin - give it away! Don't ask for anything in return, and certainly don't keep it around for another day longer. Pessimists tend to push people away and can turn otherwise healthy relationships into damaging ones. Their thinking patterns and outlook on life spoil happiness and thwart growth. Bundle up all your negative thinking and ship it off... You'll feel all the better for it.

Minimize Fear

It isn't realistic to completely eliminate fear, and probably not recommended either. After all, some of our instinctual reactions and 'gut feelings' can help get us through sticky or scary situations. But don't let fear control you. Fearing a possible shark attack while swimming in the Great Barrier Reef is a rational fear; fearing the same thing while in a lake in the middle of Colorado is not.

The key here is to buckle down and move forward despite being afraid... It is then that you'll come to realize your fear of the situation was larger than the reality of it! Acknowledge your fear, embrace it, channel it into actionable steps and move through it.

Minimize Envy

Envy can only live on the assumption that life is a zero-sum-game; one person's good fortune and success means that there's less to be had for the rest of us. Not only is this train of thought selfish, but it is untrue and self-sabotaging. To fight against this behavior, remove yourself from the equation entirely and evaluate how you feel now that it doesn't involve you. Are you happy for your friends success? Step into their shoes and imagine the joy and accomplishment they must be feeling.

All of us have cluttered closets and emotional challenges, but the issues arise when we continue hiding more things under our beds or pile on the grudges till there's no room left to grow. Spring is upon us, so go clean out your closet and unpack your heavy heart as well!

Rocky Mountain National Park Series – Boulder Philharmonic Debuts RMNP Music

Rocky Mountain National Park Series – Boulder Philharmonic Debuts RMNP Music

Composer Stephen Lias,like many others in all walks of life, draws inspiration from the great outdoors to create beautiful art in the form of musical masterpieces. The only difference is that his gaze is a bit more specific and focused - on national parks, to be specific!

Included in his dozens of compositions are pieces created thanks to our very own Rocky Mountain and Mesa Verde national parks, alongside many more from around the United States.

This Saturday, March 25th at 7:30pm, the Boulder Philharmonic will debut the composer's newest piece, fondly dubbed "All the Songs That Nature Sings", after writings by Enos Mills, who's considered to be the father of the Rocky Mountain National Park by many. Though there are a very limited number of seats still available for the premier, you can buy tickets HERE. And if you'd prefer to listen to the full concert from the comfort of your home, take advantage of CPR's (Colorado Public Radio) live broadcast!

After the concert, the Boulder Philharmonic travels to Washington, D.C. to perform the complete program at the Kennedy Center's SHIFT event; a festival that showcases innovate American orchestras.

We're inspired and in awe of the beauty all over this state, but we must agree with composer Lias - Rocky Mountain National Park is quite special...

Motivational Monday – Key Traits of Confident People

"The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it."

– J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

For the majority of people out there, confidence is more situational than permanent; in certain situations we feel very sure of ourselves, and in others we aren't quite certain how things will pan out. But never fear! Confidence is something that can be learned, exercised and created. Actions influence attitude, so by changing the way we behave over time, we can change the way we feel about said actions.

Below are some of the top traits that confident people display to those around them, and ultimately to the world. Remember... The goal isn't to seem confident - it's to actually BE confident!

They take responsibility

A confident person understands that being true to and owning their feelings, emotions, and actions is the quickest path to success. You won't hear them blaming their struggles on others or situations around them. This includes taking responsibility for one's failures, and being consistent in your choices. If you made a terrible mistake, own up to it! You'll quickly earn the respect of your peers and friends if you're able to admit when you're wrong, and learn from the outcome.

They avoid gossip

Gossip is a senseless circle, and serves no one in the end. Confident people choose to instead talk about their goals, ideas, plans, dreams, fears... They acknowledge that it's best to be positive or remain neutral. If you're around people who tend to gossip, reconsider who you surround yourself with and the thoughts you harbor.

They ask for (and accept) help

Attempting to accomplish everything on your own is not only impossible, but also exhausting, frustrating and less productive in the long run. Ask for help often if you want to work your confidence muscles, and don't feel threatened by someone else's wisdom or experience. Pass it along and help others in turn, whenever you can!

They view every failure as a success

This is a HUGE one, so pay attention! Confident people do not see failure as the end but rather as a tool they use to further their growth. The road to any success is fraught with obstacles, challenges and complications, but they know that sticking with it will get you the win in the end. In order to fail you also must try in the first place, which is the only way to succeed at all. Fail often, and you're sure to reach your goals.

They want to share the limelight with others

Every confident person thinks highly of themselves, but they also remember that others' opinions and experiences are just as valuable and valid as their own. Embracing your inner confidence requires you to be a team player at all times. They know that the focus doesn't always need to be on them, and they work hard to establish positive habits, like listening rather than talking and engaging in group efforts. Yes, you can be confident while keeping your ego in check!

Motivational Monday – Beyond the Rockies

Though we love the Rocky Mountains and all of their wilderness, there are many other beautiful places throughout Colorado. But it can be difficult to see them all from the best angle, which is where filming drones come in! A bird's eye view allows you to see things from a new perspective, and sometimes that's all we need.

(Video Credit: DJI Inspire 1 | Chroma 4K)

If you're in need of a perspective shift, there are 5 steps you can take...

  1. What is the challenge you're facing? To make it to the end, you need to know where you're starting from. Visualize yourself in the situation that you're dealing with - hear it, feel it and see it. Conjure up every detail you can to make it more real.

  2. Expand it. The problem with only seeing things one way is that it's limited. Imagine you're going further and further from yourself and your challenge, until you're looking down at it from a complete bird's eye view. Focus on everyone else involved, and try to see it in it's entirety. What do you see that you haven't before? Does your perspective change from way up there?

  3. Leave Earth behind. Imagine you're traveling even farther, past the atmosphere and into outer space. From way out there, what do you notice and how do you feel? What changes are there in your stress level as the challenge becomes further and further away?

  4. Come back home. When you're ready, begin coming back towards the problem. As you return, go into the bodies of others involved before coming back into your own. See the situation from their viewpoint, no matter how difficult it is. What do you learn? Finally, come back into your own self. How have things now changed for you?

  5. Take action. We usually cannot change other people but we can change what we do and how we react to others around us. What will you do next?

Motivational Monday Series – “The One Thing | A Look Back at 2016”

Motivational Monday Series – “The One Thing | A Look Back at 2016”

"I believe that living by someone else's  prescribed timeline is unrealistic at best and potentially damaging at worst..."

Billy Yang's short film, "The One Thing", looks back at all that's happened in 2016 and ushers it's viewers into 2017 with a challenge and renewed hope. We all can relate to the stress of living in accordance to what others think is best for us, in a way and on a schedule that they see fit. Being true to yourself doesn't always please everyone, but you're the only one you're guaranteed to be with every moment of every day! Keep that in mind when setting your intentions and priorities for this new year.

"For me, I choose to focus  on things that matter. I choose to focus on the good in people."

(Video Credit: BY Films)

What is most important to you? How does someone discover what their "one thing" is, and act in a way that aligns with that? Click HEREfor 15 questions that help you discover your life's purpose, and then transform that into your own personal mission statement.

"So going into the new year my personal mission statement will remain the same; to keep living a life that feels true to me, to continue to see as much of the world as possible, and to keep telling stories of amazing people around us..."

  "My challenge to you is to go into 2017 with an open heart, to give more than you receivebelieve in the bestof each other, and most importantly - leave a great legacy. You do that when you impact others in a positive way."

Motivational Monday Series – Never Stop Exploring

(Video Credit: The North Face)

"We feel that this stands as a symbol of the insatiable curiosity of all mankind to explore the unknown."

Buzz Aldrin, astronaut aboard the Apollo,  July 24th, 1969

Curiosity is inherent in humans from the time we are very young. Throughout history, those who have made the most significant contributions and lasting marks on the world have been curious to their core - always searching for an alternative path, new ideas and ways to get there.

Being curious throughout life can benefit you (and the world around you!) in many ways. When you're curious, your mind is active rather than passive, which helps it to grow stronger and stronger the more you challenge it to think outside the box. It also leads to an adventurous life in which new doors open everywhere you look. As new ideas emerge, you are more likely to give them genuine consideration if they pique your interest and curiosity. You will also be more open minded to the thoughts and opinions of others, which is never a bad thing.

What if you've grown out of your child-like curiosity? Never fear - there are things you can do to claim it back....

1.) Read diverse material

By reading many different genres, you immerse yourself into all sorts of worlds, complete with characters and circumstances that are unique. Get a subscription to an educational magazine that you normally don't pick up, and get to reading!

2.) Keep an open mind

This may seem pretty obvious, but you'd be amazed at how few people truly keep an open mind in life. By being willing to learn, unlearn and relearn things, you open the door to new knowledge and opportunity.

3.) Don't take anything for granted

When you accept that the world is the way it is, you have absolutely no incentive to dig deeper. Always strive to look beneath the surface and discover more than what meets the eye.

4.) Ask questions

Who, what, when, where and why are ones we all learned in school, and they still apply once you've grown up! Keep them in your back pocket and don't forget about them. They can always be pulled out on a daily basis.

5.) Choose to see learning as fun

This takes some practice, but it is definitely possible. Even the most challenging of things can be rewarding to attempt (sometimes over and over) until we finally succeed. Look at life through a glass that's half full and exciting.

Motivational Monday – “Thank Goodness for the Outdoors – Lynsey Dyer”

"Every time I go outside, all the questions and all the struggles become more manageable. Everything's okay again..."

Lynsey Dyer

Thank Goodness For The Outdoors: Lynsey Dyer 2016 Season Edit from Unicorn Picnic Productions on Vimeo.

In a world where constant distractions can drain the energy from even the most ambitious among us, Lynsey Dyer - American freestyle and big mountain skier - examines the beauty in the simple things; namely being outdoors and in nature.

Motivational Monday – “15 Hours | with Anton Krupicka” by Billy Yang Films

Motivational Monday – “15 Hours | with Anton Krupicka” by Billy Yang Films

"..... It comes down to connection and being engaged in life. That's really it. It's a structure for having this purpose and focus and commitment to something on a daily basis."

- Anton Krupicka

Anton Kurpicka is an ultra-runner living in Boulder, CO, best known for his long hair and dedication to trail running. Though he has many wins under his belt, including two at the Leadville 100, he admits that his relationship to the sport has been more affected by injury in the past couple years than ever before.

Despite the challenges of setting his ego aside, Anton speaks to the importance of daily rituals and dedication, especially when they feed the body and soul.

(Video Credit: Billy Yang Films)

Motivational Monday – “A Life Well Lived”

May 1st, 1963, Jim Whittaker became the first American to reach the summit of Mount Everest. Though he and his Sherpa, Nawang Gombu, ran out of oxygen before reaching the top, they managed to achieve their goal and planted an American flag at the top.

In this short film, Whittaker examines what a "good life" is composed of. Thought-provoking and inspirational, he describes that nature is truly the best teacher in the world. You cannot help but learn things every time you step out of your comfort zone.

A Life Well Lived | Jim Whittaker & 50 Years of Everest from eric becker on Vimeo.

To live a life well lived, I think, is to give back. To enjoy as much of the planet as you can. To learn as much about yourself so when you check out, you know pretty much that you've done everything you can. To be as good at something - at anything - as you can, and to contribute to the longevity of the planet, so that your children and their children and their children will be able to enjoy as much as you do on this magical, wonderful planet... - Jim Whittaker

Motivational Monday – 5-Minute Guided Monday Meditation

Motivational Monday – 5-Minute Guided Monday Meditation

t's not uncommon for Mondays to bring about a lot of unknown around the week ahead, and cause a bit of anxiety. You're anticipating all that you need to accomplish, things you aren't looking forward to, and wondering what will come next.. Who knows the twists and turns you'll have to deal with.

But Monday is also the chance to start your week of on a positive and productive note!

This guided meditation can help you to deal with the worry of not knowing, and embrace feelings of uncertainty. It only takes 5 minutes and is guaranteed to point you in the right direction for the week ahead.