Stop Constantly Checking Email!

If you want to be productive, you must do things that produce results. Being busy isn’t the same thing as being productive. Determine one thing you need to accomplish each day and work on it during your most productive hours. The first two to three hours of your workday are your most valuable. Your creativity, focus, and energy are at their best. Don’t squander your best hours on low priority tasks.

Win your morning, and you win your day. We have all experienced days where we felt like we did a lot, only to realize we didn’t accomplish anything meaningful. You’ll discover that you spent the day reacting to others instead of sticking to your plan. I recommend you use your smartphone to check your schedule for the day and ensure there are no legitimate emergencies in your inbox, then ignore it. Don’t even open your email browser until after lunch.

Spend the best hours of your workday on your most impactful task. Devote yourself to something that will produce results. Checking email is addictive, but you must overcome the temptation to continually respond to everyone else’s demands and work on meaningful projects. That is how you become productive. If you want to be more productive than 90% of your colleagues, stop checking emails and start producing.

Learn more, Eliminate Distractions to Reclaim your Focus & Productivity

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Stop Chasing Success!

Chasing success is futile. Success is something we attract. Success is looking for a good place to stay. If you want to attract people to your organization that are smart, energetic, and have a great attitude, you must first display those things yourself. “We don’t attract who we want, we attract who we are.” John C. Maxwell

An A player doesn’t want to work for a B or a C player. That isn’t how life works. Eagles don’t fly with ducks. A players are attracted to other A players. We unconsciously model the behavior of the people we spend the most time with, so successful people tend to have successful friends and colleagues. Success is something we attract by the person we become. Instead of chasing success, we should focus on becoming someone that attracts success. “Personal development – the never-ending chance to improve not only yourself, but also to attract opportunities and affect others.” Jim Rohn

Learn more, Work Harder on Yourself than You do Your Job.

The Habit: Week-15 (Actively Seek Associations that Will Inspire You)

“It’s better to hang out with people better than you. Pick out associates whose behavior is better than yours, and you’ll drift in that direction.” Warren Buffett

This week’s challenge is to seek out people that will inspire and influence you in a positive manner. Whatever your goal is, seek out individuals that have achieved it, or are at least further along than you. Seek out associations with groups and individuals you respect and admire.

Warren Buffett says, “The best thing I did was to choose the right heroes.” Bill Graham, was Warren’s hero when he began his career in investment. Bill told Warren when he was a young man he looked around at the people he admired. After studying their character and habits, he concluded that they weren’t doing anything he could not do. He decided that he would mirror the behavior of those successful people he admired until he became someone he could admire. Success leaves clues. Success is a science; if you do what other successful people do, you will be successful.

Many people underestimate the important role of environmental norms and expectations play in our behavior. We all have friends that either bring out the best in us or the worst in us. None of us are immune to the effect. It is often said we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.

You get to choose the people you spend your time with, so I suggest you choose wisely. I understand that these people might not be available in your physical environment, but that doesn’t mean you cannot spend time with people you admire. Darren Hardy, the publisher of Success Magazine, says the majority of the time he spent with his mentor, Jim Rohn, was reading his books or listening to his audio programs in his car.

The people we admire often tell their life’s story in books. These books can be great sources of information and inspiration. With the popularity of YouTube, you can often find your hero telling their story in interviews or during speeches. Success isn’t determined by your resources, it is determined by your resourcefulness.

In How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie, tells the story of a poor Dutch immigrant boy who was able to correspond and visit Ralph Waldo Emerson, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Longfellow, Mrs. Abraham Lincoln, Louisa May Alcott, General Sherman and Jefferson Davis. These associations imbued Edward Bok with the confidence, vision, and ambition to become one of the most successful magazine editors of his time, despite only having 6-years of formal education. What was his secret?

As an office boy for Western Union, he continued his education through self-study. He went without lunch until he had enough money to purchase an encyclopedia of American biographies. After reading about the lives of famous people, he did a most unexpected thing. He sent letters to the people he read about, asking for additional information about their childhoods or specific events that took place.

Ulysses S Grant 1870-1880

After writing General Grant requesting additional details about a specific battle, he received a letter back from Grant that contained a map he drew and invited the fourteen-year-old boy to dinner so they could spend the evening talking. Famous people are still people. Everyone is flattered when people take a genuine interest in them. His example demonstrates that it isn’t a lack of opportunity or resources that stops people from doing amazing things, it is a lack of imagination.

Many successful entrepreneurs suggest offering your services for free working part time or full time for someone you admire so you can learn first hand what makes them successful. Success leaves clues. Success is a science. If you can duplicate the strategies of successful people, you should be able to duplicate their results. We can save years of frustration by learning from people that have already accomplished our goals.

Most of us don’t have successful role models to emulate in our everyday environment, but instead of focusing on that, we would be better served by thinking of creative ways to get closer to successful people. The trap that most of us fall into is thinking primarily regarding our own self-interest. If we focus instead on what we have to offer or showing sincere interest in the other person, we will be much more successful at making a favorable impression.

If we are striving to improve in any area of our life, it would be a great idea to take Warren’s advise and spend time with people that are better than us in that particular discipline or skill. We are all influenced by group norms and expectations. It is often said we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. I believe it is true. If you were to take a look at the people you spend the most time with, perhaps you would agree as well.

Group norms and expectations influence our behavior for the better or worse. Why not choose for the better, by seeking out people that will inspire and educate you through their example? You can’t hope to change the people around you, but you can change the people you choose to be around. The more time you spend with positive dynamic people, the better. We unconsciously imitate the attitude and behaviors of those around us. Neuroscientists have identified a new type of neuron, called a mirror neuron; which are a subset of motor neurons.

A lot of exciting research has centered around these neurons and their role in shaping human civilization. These neurons help to explain how we learn through mimicry and why we empathize with others. They allow us to model the behavior of the most successful in our social group so we could achieve better results. These subset motor neurons fire when we watch someone performing an action as if we were performing the action ourselves. They allow us to adopt another person’s point of view. They allow us to emulate and imitate others. Neuroscientist Vilayanur Ramachandran, a leading expert on mirror neurons, says these neurons, that first appeared approximately 100,000 years ago are what catapulted human civilization.

Mirror neurons allowed the discovery of one person to improve the knowledge of the entire group. They allowed us to geometrically spread knowledge. We could now learn and quickly apply what others had learned. It is the bases of human civilization and culture. Mirror neurons allow us to learn through observation and give us the ability to empathize with others. We all have this ability, but we often neglect to learn from the success of others. “Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.” Douglas Adams

It is unfortunate that more people don’t take advantage of the biographies and autobiographies of successful people to learn what they did to succeed. Knowledge isn’t power until it is applied, but when you combine an effective strategy with sustained effort, you can accomplish amazing results.

If we are willing to apply what we learn, reading a book can save us a decade of frustration. We can learn in hours what someone else took years to learn through trial and error. There is a tremendous amount of free content on the internet and library cards are FREE. It doesn’t get easier than free, yet how many people take advantage of our libraries. “If you want to be successful, find someone who has achieved the results you want and copy what they do, and you’ll achieve the same results.” – Tony Robbins

A lot of our learning is done subconsciously. We didn’t receive any classes on speaking our native language. We all learned language and behavior through observation and imitation. The basal ganglia, sometimes called our primitive brain or reptilian brain, was once thought only to help control movement; but is now believed to play a major role in how we learn, process emotions, make decisions, and adopt behaviors.

As children, we learn how to act and react by watching the adults around us. In functional families, this is a blessing, but in dysfunctional families, it is a curse. In large part, it is why the children of abusive parents often grow up to be abusive parents themselves, despite the loathing they felt for their parent growing-up. Being a parent is an awesome responsibility. If you take a moment, you will realize that the example you set for your children, will extend well beyond your lifetime. The example you set, will likely be set for your grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Children learn more from what you are than what you teach.” ― W.E.B. Du Bois

As children, we couldn’t choose our parents, but as adults, we have control over who we spend our time with. If you want to be more successful, I suggest you spend as much time as possible with successful people. If you want to be healthier, I suggest you spend more time with people that take care of themselves. Whatever behaviors you want to adopt, the best advice I can give you is to spend time with people that are already living the way you want to live.

If the only place you can spend time with successful people is through books, audiobooks, and videos do that. Insulate yourself from the negative people around you. Create a protective bubble that doesn’t allow their infectious attitudes to penetrate your subconscious mind. The more time you spend with negative people, the more motivation, and discipline you’ll need to cultivate a positive, productive attitude. It isn’t our situation that determines our success, it is our decisions. Our decisions are affected by our attitude. The better our attitude is, the better our decisions will be. Better decisions, better results.

We want to shape our environment to make our journey easier, not harder. Our lives don’t get better through chance, they get better through change. If the people around us aren’t going to change, then we must change the people we choose to be around. For things to get better, we have to do better. We cannot neglect the influence that others are going to have on our lives. Identify people you admire and look for opportunities to spend more time with them, and less time with the people that you don’t want to emulate. The strategy is simple, but how many of us consciously choose to spend time with people we admire?

Social media makes connecting with people that are successful in a particular area of interest easier than ever before. You can find a group for almost any interest you have. These are amazing times. The opportunity to associate with great people that will inspire you to live your dreams has never been better. So many successful people are creating positive content aimed at helping you achieve your goals and offering it for free. Unfortunately, it is human nature to devalue things that are given and not earned.

If Warren Buffett gives us free advice on how to invest wisely, we shouldn’t discount that advice just because we didn’t pay for it. We should take notes and seek to apply his recommendations. Successful people often give advice freely. They want you to succeed. They don’t have a zero-sum mindset. They don’t see your success as a threat to their own success. Good leaders don’t see a talented follower as a threat they see them as an asset. There are no bad organizations, only bad leaders.

Effective organizations develop a culture that supports its objectives. Every group has a culture. Group norms and expectations influence our behavior for the better or worse. Many cultures happen by accident, but successful cultures are engineered to promote the core values essential to the organization’s success.

Spartan-Identity blog post

A powerful culture can change how you act. If for example, you identify yourself as a Marine, you are saying you are tough and adaptable. Marines like to say once a Marine, always a Marine. After they leave the service, they are expected to carry themselves like Marines for the rest of their lives. If you want to push yourself to work out more consistently, and with greater effort, joining a group or team will make it easier. It not only adds a layer of accountability, but it is psychologically easier to push yourself when you see others doing the same.

As a West Point Graduate, I am a member of the Long Gray Line. Being a West Pointer means that I must always conduct myself in a manner that reflects the motto, Duty, Honor, Country. I would never do anything that I thought would bring dishonor to the institution. Being a West Pointer means I must hold myself to a higher standard. Our identity is often the result of our associations. We can use the power of identity to help us mold our behavior.

I suggest we harness the power of identity to adopt a more disciplined lifestyle and overcome life’s challenges. While I choose to create my own personalized workouts, which focus on strength training and short cardio sessions, I found Joseph De Sena’s Spartan Fit! Very inspirational. I have incorporated some of the workout ideas into my training. Spartan Fit teaches you what it means to become a modern day Spartan. You learn how to eat, train, and live a more Spartan lifestyle.

I hope you will accept this week’s challenge to use the power of group norms to your benefit. Positive group norms can provide that little push we need to make better decisions. Never forget that it is not our situation that determines our success, it is our decisions. Surrounding yourself with ‘A’ players will help influence your decisions and behaviors to mirror that of your reference group. Simply put, if you surround yourself with successful people, you will subconsciously adopt their attitudes and behaviors. We will learn the language of success as effortlessly as we learned our primary language as a child. Surround yourself with people that speak the language of success, and you will become fluent in the language of success.

group norms post.PNG

Learn more, Group Norms & Expectation- Don’t Put Rocks in Your Backpack and Pebbles in You Shoes

Until next week, good luck!

Group norms can positively or negatively affect our attitudes and decisions. Better decisions, better results. Change your habits, change your life!

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Best wishes and Best Health!

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Book Available on AMAZON – Paperback, Kindle & Audible Audiobook

Are you ready to reboot and reset your relationship with food and exercise? Most programs focus on the mechanics of weight loss but fail to adequately address the psychology of change required. Most people know more than enough about nutrition and exercise to lose weight, but fail to take action. This book takes a new approach to getting leaner, fitter, and stronger. 

The Fat Loss Habit: Creating Routines that Make Willpower and Fat Loss Automatic takes a new approach to getting leaner, fitter, and stronger. The program uses high-impact change strategies that make the process of adopting a healthy lifestyle easier. The nutrition and workout program, like the change techniques, have all been proven effective, and are all backed by research and scientific studies.

#theFatLossHabit #FatLoss #WeightLoss #NewYearsResolution #GetHealthy #HealthyLife #Fitness #FitnessAddict #Nutrition #FitQuote #GetFit #NoExcuses #TrainHard #GetStrong #WeightTraining #Workout #Motivation #Positive #Inspiration #Habit #Happiness #YouCanDoIt #Success #BodyTransformation #FitGirl #FitMom #FitFam #FitCouple #mantra #groupnorms #mirrorneurons

 

 

The Habit: Week-13 (Create a Vision Board)

 Vision board image by Colleen Galvin

“You can’t just visualize it and then go eat a sandwich. It’s about letting the universe know what you want and then working toward it while letting go of how it comes to pass.” ― Jim Carrey

This week, our challenge is to create a vision board. I have one, and I recommend you have one because the law of attraction works. It works, but only if we work. Envisioning what we want to achieve is only the first step toward making it a reality. “Everything is created twice, first in the mind and then in reality.”  Robin Sharma

The power of attraction, having a vision and staying connected with it daily, is misunderstood by many people. Its power lies in an area of our brain called the reticular activating system (RAS). Our RAS determines what we notice and what we ignore in our environment. If we didn’t ignore most of what we see, hear, and feel in our environment, we would experience sensory overload.

When we set a goal, and we have strong emotional intent, we trigger the RAS. Our brain becomes incredibly acute at noticing anything in our surroundings that could help us move forward. When we stay connected to our vision, daily, we keep ourselves on course. We don’t get caught up in the momentum of other people’s demands on us. Every day we look for ways to take another step, no matter how small, towards our goal.

Like any law, it is both positive and negative. When we focus on what we want our RAS will seek out data and resources to support our vision. When we focus on what we don’t want, unfortunately, our RAS will filter our view of the world and look for information and situations that support our view. “Here’s the problem. Most people are thinking about what they don’t want, and they’re wondering why it shows up over and over again.”  John Assaraf

Change the way you see things and the things you see will change. Wayne Dyer

When we invest ourselves emotionally in our goal and stay focused on it; miraculous things happen.  When we make reconnecting with our goal, a part of our daily routine, we begin to take notice of all the opportunities around us. We begin to make connections and form insights that would have previously gone undetected. These opportunities and insights were always available to us, but they were ignored. They were filtered out by our RAS as being unimportant. Focusing on our goal each day put the RAS on notice; that these things were important.

“A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks he becomes.” Gandhi

A person that doesn’t stay focused on their goal is like a missile with no guidance system. If the target moves, it will miss the target. A person that lacks emotional energy will never launch; never take action. A missile with a programmed target and guidance system will never leave the ground if it doesn’t have any fuel. If someone doesn’t have enough emotional intensity, they will fall short of their goal, the same way a missile will fall short of its target.

jim carrey.jpg

It is important to have a goal, but without action, it is just a dream, we have no hope of accomplishing. Jim Carrey is a huge believer in the power of intent and the law of attraction, “The Secret.” While he was still struggling as a young comedian, he wrote himself a check for 10 million dollars.

He gave himself 5 years to cash it. He wrote: “For acting services rendered,” in the check’s margin. He kept it in his wallet for four years. Just as his deadline was approaching, he learned that he would earn 10 million dollars for his role in Dumb and Dumber. He believes in the law of attraction but insists hard work is still required. You can not have a vision then go sit on the couch. You have to put in the work. “You can’t just visualize it and then go eat a sandwich. It’s about letting the universe know what you want and then working toward it while letting go of how it comes to pass.” ― Jim Carrey

This week, your challenge is to create a vision board. There aren’t any rules to creating a vision board, so we really cannot mess it up. I suggest we use a combination of inspirational images, guiding mantras, and philosophies that motivate us to pursue our dreams. The purpose of a vision board is to reconnect with our dreams and motivate us to go after them each day. Seeing images of places we want to visit, people we want to emulate, and things we want to own will help us to make better use of our time each day.

If you need more ideas, click the image below.

vision board images.PNG

Shift your focus, shift your view of the world. Change your habits, change your life! 

Learn more DREAM BIG! Conservative Goals Don’t Inspire

The Habit: Week-7 (Identify ONE Wildly Important Goal)

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Are you ready to reboot and reset your relationship with food and exercise? Most programs focus on the mechanics of weight loss but fail to adequately address the psychology of change required. Most people know more than enough about nutrition and exercise to lose weight, but fail to act. This book takes a new approach to getting leaner, fitter, and stronger. 

The Fat Loss Habit: Creating Routines that Make Willpower and Fat Loss Automatic takes a new approach to getting leaner, fitter, and stronger. The program uses high-impact change strategies that make the process of adopting a healthy lifestyle easier. The nutrition and workout program, like the change techniques, have all been proven effective, and are all backed by research and scientific studies.

#theFatLossHabit #FatLoss #WeightLoss  #GetHealthy #HealthyLife #Fitness #FitnessAddict #Nutrition #FitQuote #GetFit #NoExcuses #TrainHard #GetStrong #WeightTraining #Workout #Motivation #Positive #Inspiration #Habit #Happiness #YouCanDoIt #Success #BodyTransformation #FitGirl #FitFam

 

The Habit: Week-11 (Develop a Few Guiding Mantras)

Don’t follow, lead.
Don’t copy, create.
Don’t start, finish.
Don’t sit still, move.
Don’t fit in, stand out.
Don’t sit quietly, speak up.
Seth Godin

This week’s challenge is to jot down a few powerful mantras and read them each morning. When I say, “mantra,” I am referring to a statement or slogan repeated frequently to help us make better decisions.

If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you. If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you. Zig Ziglar

Mantras can help us to navigate our lives; like navigational beacons that help keep us on course. They help to guide our everyday actions like written goals do, so we don’t get lost in the world wind of daily distractions.

Do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving. Warren Buffet

Adopting a mantra and repeating it to ourselves throughout the day can help us make better choices. An effective mantra will guide our actions when we are confronted with an unexpected situation that is tempting us to stray from the path. They remind us of our broader intent.

Effective organizations ensure that everyone knows the intent of the CEO so they can make decisions that support the overarching goal of the organization. Southwest Airlines’ intent was once to be the lowest cost airline. Therefore, any decision that would have added to their operational cost was not in line with the CEO’s intent.

WWII.jpg

The military developed the concept of a commander’s intent to empower subordinate leaders and guide their initiative. The commander’s intent describes the desired end state of a successful mission. For example, a company commander’s intent might be to secure Hill 81 by destroying or forcing the withdrawal of all enemy forces.

Few plans survive contact with the enemy, but armed with the commander’s intent; all the soldiers can take actions in the absence of orders. Each soldier is empowered to improvise, adapt, and take actions that will result in securing Hill 81 by destroying or forcing the withdrawal of all enemy forces.

Great sources of mantras are leadership lectures, self-improvement seminars, motivational speeches, and books. Here are some examples.

Self-improvement Mantras:

  • Don’t be lazy about learning. Jim Rohn
  • Read 500 pages every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up like compound interest. Warren Buffett
  • We become what we repeatedly do. Aristotle
  • For things to get better, we must get better.
  • If you don’t have the success you desire, it is because you aren’t the person you need to be, YET.
  • Consistency is more important than intensity.
  • Today I will do, so tomorrow I will become.
  • Hard work always pays.
  • Success must be earned daily.
  • Do not think about it, be about it.
  • Success requires doing it; whether you feel like it or not.
  • You attract what you are, not what you want. If you want great, then be great.
  • If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you. If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you. Zig Ziglar
  • You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. Wayne Gretzky
  • If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done. Thomas Jefferson
  • Nothing will work unless you do. Maya Angelou

Leadership Mantras:

  • Leadership is a privilege, not a right, and I must earn it in the arena of action. Mark Divine
  • The best leadership tool you have is your own example. John Wooden
  • A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way. John C. Maxwell
  • I will seek to improve myself, my team, and the world every day. Mark Divine
  • Be the leader you would follow.
  • Exude the traits and behaviors you want in your followers.

Fitness Mantras:

  • Just do it. Nike
  • Embrace the suck.
  • Set small goals and build upon them.
  • No growth without resistance.
  • Exercise to stimulate, not to annihilate.
  • No matter how slow you go, you are still lapping everybody on the couch.
  • Create healthy habits, not restrictions.
  • You cannot outrun a bad diet.
  • Strive for progress, not perfection.
  • Do better today, be better tomorrow.
  • You don’t have to go fast. You just have to go.

Success Mantras:

  • Dream big. Start small. Act NOW! Robin Sharma
  • It is not over until I win. Les Brown
  • The old ways will not open new doors.
  • The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time. Thomas A. Edison
  • The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is now. Chinese proverb
  • We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act but a habit. Aristotle
  • Do what you have to do until you can do what you want to do. Oprah Winfrey
  • Don’t wish for it, work for it.

Financial Mantras:

  • Do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving. Warren Buffet
  • If you want to be rich, you need to create multiple income streams. Bo Sanchez
  • If you buy things you don’t need, soon you will have to sell things you need. Warren Buffet
  • Building wealth is a marathon. Not a sprint. Discipline is the key ingredient. Dave Ramsey
  • The Stock Market is a device for transferring money from the impatient to the patient. Warren Buffett
  • If you don’t find a way to make money while you sleep, you will work until you die. Warren Buffet

I begin each morning reviewing my journal for 10 to 15-minutes. I read my gratitude list, my goals, and a series of inspirational mantras. When our minds are left to their own devices, they focus on lack, which leads to negative feelings.

Better gratitude, better attitude.

My gratitude list helps remind me of all my blessings. A spirit of gratitude chases away negative feelings like anger, frustration, and depression. Gratitude is the light that chases away the darkness of these negative feelings. Gratitude helps us to connect with our higher self.

My list of goals and mantras help to guide my daily decisions and actions. They allow me to reconnect with my values and priorities. The goals provide direction, and the mantras provide guidance. Both help us to establish priorities based on the life we want to create for ourselves, instead of being a slave to the demands of others. Most people are either pursuing their dreams or helping someone else pursue theirs.

blank desk blotter.jpgBesides writing my mantras in my journal, I use a blank desk blotter at work. It is great for capturing notes and brainstorming. I often write a few of my most important mantras in the upper corners of the blotter as a constant reminder of my values.

Until next week, good luck!

First we do, then we become. Change your habits, change your life! 

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Best wishes and Best Health!

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Are you ready to reboot and reset your relationship with food and exercise? Most programs focus on the mechanics of weight loss but fail to adequately address the psychology of change required. Most people know more than enough about nutrition and exercise to lose weight, but fail to take action. This book takes a new approach to getting leaner, fitter, and stronger. 

The Fat Loss Habit: Creating Routines that Make Willpower and Fat Loss Automatic takes a new approach to getting leaner, fitter, and stronger. The program uses high-impact change strategies that make the process of adopting a healthy lifestyle easier. The nutrition and workout program, like the change techniques, have all been proven effective, and are all backed by research and scientific studies.

#theFatLossHabit #FatLoss #WeightLoss #NewYearsResolution #GetHealthy #HealthyLife #Fitness #FitnessAddict #Nutrition #FitQuote #GetFit #NoExcuses #TrainHard #GetStrong #WeightTraining #Workout #Motivation #Positive #Inspiration #Habit #Happiness #YouCanDoIt #Success #BodyTransformation #FitGirl #FitMom #FitFam #FitCouple #mantra