5 Signs of A Solid Relationship

Relationships are foundational to all of life. We're always in relationship with people, and it is oh so important to be good at getting along with others. More often than not, we form relationships with people, and never give second thought to why some stand strong and others fall apart. Whether you're single, dating, married, or looking to build some solid friendships, here's 5 telltale signs that your relationship is headed in the right direction.

1. Mutual Enjoyment: Spending time together just for the enjoyment of being together. Sometimes it's not about the activity, but rather, the company that makes things a whole lot of fun.

2. Respect: When you value someone on the front end of a relationship, you earn respect on the back end of the relationship. It always starts with how we treat one another. Do you see the other person as someone of great worth and value? If not, start treating them that way and you'll discover a world of difference. It's good to do a little perspective shift every now and then!

3. Shared Experiences: Going through a significant experience with another person creates a mutual bond. Think back to the times when a good friend stuck with you when you needed that most. It is often the crazy moments, major life happenings, or the events that become 'well-loved stories' to tell later that bond you to another!

4. Trust: Trust is the foundation of any relationship. Get this one right from the get-go, and you are set up for success. There always is an element of trust in any relationship, and if you cannot trust someone, find out why, and how you can take steps to begin to rebuild that trust again.

5. Reciprocity: Solid relationships must be beneficial to both parties. Each person has to put the other first, and both have to benefit. Here's the deal, relationships are not a one-way street; each one needs to give a little and take a little. If one person is constantly giving, and the other never reciprocates, that relationship is headed for burnout and disaster. Instead of always thinking of your needs, anticipate the needs of the other person, and do something for them! When we begin to think of others first, it will radically change how we view relationships.

How do your relationships measure up? How can you continue to grow in these areas? 


Better Together

(image credit: Peter Lee)

We live in a self-focused society. We're all about the things that will cater to our needs, wants, and wishes. With iPhones and selfies, it is no wonder that we can become so focused on our own lives that we forget the power of community. I love my iPhone and admit to participating in the selfie trend; however, I cannot help but be reminded of the incredible power of relationships. We were not designed to be alone, man is not an island. We need one another. There's something that you bring to the world that I do not. My purpose on earth is different than yours, and instead of comparing one to another, we should celebrate the differences! I am always interested when some one is praised as "self-made" because no one truly accomplishes anything great without help from someone else. Everyone needs other people to help them in the process of achieving their dreams. Whether that help is something big or small, everyone experiences the input and influence of others. The late Jim Rohn said something powerful in regard to this concept.

He says, "We become a powerful force when each of us understands how powerful all of us are and when all of us understand how valuable each of us is."

You are created to great things in this world, but you are not called to do it alone! We all benefit from the help, encouragement, and support from others around us. Life is always more fun when lived with other people, and when you succeed, there's someone to celebrate with! Take a good look at your recent successes. Who played a part, big or small, in that victory? Have you ever thanked them for it? It's amazing to see the kind of things that we can accomplish when we all work together, not simply competing, but rather, completing one another. There's a reason that people say, "teamwork makes the dream work". Life is far sweeter when we appreciate the beauty and the differences in other people. It is good to step out of our own life bubble for a bit, and to invest in someone else. What kinds of things could we accomplish if we decided to work together? Challenge yourself to invest into the relationships in your life, and I can promise that you will find that we are all truly better together.

Coffee Talk: Creating A Successful Morning Routine

When it comes to the morning, most people find themselves in one of two different camps. Either they love waking up early or they don't. I happen to be one who enjoys the morning hours, and I have created a routine that helps me to start my day off in a positive direction. While you certainly have to find what works best for you, here's a few suggestions from things that I do to begin my day.

1. Respond: Set an alarm.
While it's easy to slip back into snooze mode, decide to get up when your alarm goes off. If this is a challenge for you, set two alarms with the first one as your initial wakeup call, and then the second one after a few minutes of planned snooze time. If you don't plan, it's easy to oversleep and then to be rushed.

2. Refocus: Resist the urge to check your phone first thing.
I know it's easy to simply scroll as soon as you wake up, but challenge yourself to begin the day screen-free. What has worked for me is to set aside some quiet time in the morning to read, reflect, and journal. While I understand that each person is different, and has different priorities, starting my mornings with some quiet time and devotions is always the set up for a good day. Regardless of what you do, give your eyes a rest from the screen and take in the morning light instead...it's less stressful, trust me.

3. Re-calibrate: Start your day reading your goals out loud to yourself.
This may sound strange, but studies show that those who read their goals aloud to themselves have a higher goal achievement and success rate. I have about 8-10 yearly goals that I read aloud every morning, and I can honestly say that this practice actually works. Speak your success into existence!

4. Recharge: Begin the day with some exercise.
And...all of the night owl gym goers just collectively sighed. I get it, it's hard to wake up and immediately go for a run or workout. Do it anyway. Working out in the morning revs up the body's metabolism, boosts energy levels, and is one less thing you have to do after work. Stretch, run, do some yoga, or amp things up with a HIIT workout. You can even use the 7 Minute Workout App for a super quick sweat session! Not enough time you say? Perhaps you may need to get up a little earlier...See step 1.

5. Refuel: Eat a good breakfast!
Never underestimate the power of a good breakfast. After the body has been rebuilding and restoring itself in the night, it needs fuel to be ready to go again. Too many people skip breakfast and wonder why they can't seem to lose weight, or experience low energy levels throughout the day. There's a reason it's called breakfast. During the night we're sleeping, or fasting, so in the morning, it's time to break the fast and provide the body with nutrition for the new day ahead. If you're not a big breakfast person, there's all kinds of smoothie recipes, nutritious toast combinations, or fruit and yogurt ideas that you can ease your body into. Here's a link to some of my favorite recipe ideas!

One final thing: Choose to have a great day, everyday! A big part of starting the day off right is the decision to make it a productive, successful day no matter what happens. A resilient attitude is independent of circumstances and a common denominator of champions. Decide that today is a fantastic day and it will be!

 What is part of your morning routine? 

3 Major Questions For Those in the Pursuit of a Successful Life

We're all striving for a better life, and while there's many things we can do to improve or adjust our current circumstances to grow and achieve, answering these three questions will have an incredibly powerful effect on one's personal direction and growth. It has often been said that what we think determines what we believe; what we believe influences what we choose; what we choose defines what we are; and what we are attracts what we have. If that's the case, we must be aware of how our thoughts are affecting the direction of our lives. What kinds of things will influence our thoughts? Attitude is a major determining factor in how our lives turn out; however, we must also consider the kinds of influences we accept from other people. Everyone needs others to come along and help them in achieving their dreams. How we feel about ourselves is a matter of choice, yet how we feel is often influenced by the associations we have. With that in mind, ask yourself these three incredibly important questions to determine if your associations and relationships are providing the kind of influence that is beneficial to your best life:

1. Who am I around?
Take a personal inventory of the relationships that are closest to you. What kind of attitudes, conversations, and decisions do they partake in on a daily basis? Weigh the effect that they're having on you and your life. 

2. What effect are they having?
It is essential to be deliberate about the kind of input that we receive and accept as reality in our lives. While it may be some minor habit or negative thoughts and opinions, those small behaviors, over the passing of time will become deeply rooted habit patterns in your own life. Is that the kind of influence you want in your life? If it is positive, continue to invest time in that relationship, but if not, it may be time to make some changes. 

3. Is that acceptable?
Personal growth is not always the easiest to work on, but remember that the worst days experienced by those who give attention to their relationship input, and utilize self-discipline are better than the best of days of those who don't give any thought to it. Recognize when it is time to part ways with someone who is not having a positive effect on your life. It is not worth investing into a relationship or association that is inhibiting your growth.

Remember this, it is better to spend a little time with the right people, than to spend a lot of time with the wrong people. Surround yourself with winners and positive people of character! You and your future are so worth it!

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