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{Monday MotiBright} “You Only Live Once…”

 “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” ~ Mae West

The way you spend your days is the way you spend your life.

Are you spending your days in a way that brings you joy, satisfaction, contentment, and a feeling of achievement and worth?

Or are you spending your days in ways that bring you exhaustion, guilt, sadness, frustration, boredom and a sense of being a cog in the machine?

When I talk of thriving, of living your ideal life, I am talking about the everyday small actions and thoughts that make up your life.

This site is focussed on helping you grow a thriving creative online business – but there is MUCH more to thriving in life than just having a successful business. Having a thriving business is just one part of the puzzle of an amazing life.

The whole point of having a thriving business should be so that you can HAVE a life that you love – so that you can live the way you want to live.

In fact, I’m 100% convinced that you can’t have the former without the latter – or, more to the point, why would you want to?

Enter Mae West’s thoughts on the matter.

What you do and what you think every moment of every day have a HUGE impact on your quality of life – and your happiness.

This fantastic article on the power of positive thinking over on Lifehacker quoted a study wherein one group of students “wrote about an intensely positive experience each day for three consecutive days. The second group wrote about a control topic. Three months later, the students who wrote about positive experiences had better mood levels, fewer visits to the health center, and experienced fewer illnesses.”

What’s up with that? They wrote about an ‘intensely positive experience’ for just THREE DAYS… and three months later, were still reaping the benefits?

That’s some pretty strong stuff.

Kind makes the whole idea of keeping some sort of gratitude journal seem a bit more useful, doesn’t it?

But let’s broaden out the scope a bit.

I’m assuming that – deep down, even if you’ve never really given it much thought before reading this article – you KNOW what makes you happy. You already know what fills you with joy and makes life worth living. You know what you should be doing more of – or what you should be doing LESS of.

So, I ask you…

Is there one small thing you can change today that will move you in the direction of living your ideal life?

I am not talking woo-woo, airy-fairy wishes. You all know I’m a practical kind of girl.

I want you to choose one, simple, concrete thought pattern or action (either an addition of a new action or a subtraction of an old action) and enact that change right now.

This can be a business-related thing, or some other, good-life related thing.

{Just a tip – if you’re taking away an action/habit, it’s always helpful to replace it with a positive habit. For example, you might want to stop checking email first thing in the morning – make sure you substitute that action with a more joyful, healthy one – like reading a novel or your favourite blog, going for a walk, or perusing Flipboard. You also might want to turn off wifi and data on your phone so if you blearily reach for it tomorrow morning without thinking you can’t accidentally check email on autopilot. Thanks to Leo for this habit substitution tip – it’s helping me make some changes in my own life.}

If you want to, I’d love for you to share your one thing with us in the comments below.

Before you do – let me share one of mine.

Since I was about 8 years old, I’ve had a terrible habit – Nick calls it ‘picking’. Whenever I’m stressed, anxious, or just plain bored, I pick at the skin around my nails. It drives him – and other people in my life – absolutely crazy. It’s also kinda gross.

Now, I maintained that most of the time, I didn’t even know I was doing it – which I absolutely didn’t. But the reason I didn’t was because I wasn’t bothering to be self-aware around this particular habit.

This month, I made a commitment to myself that I’d give up this habit once and for all. I don’t like how it annoys the people around me, and I don’t like how it makes me look to anyone else. Nervous habits like this one always have a tendency to make you look unsure and anxious to others, even if you are actually confident!

So far, it’s working. I made it dead-simple for myself, and I incorporated a replacement habit. Since picking is something I can do everywhere, no matter what, I needed a replacement habit that I could also do everywhere, no matter what. So I picked breathing.

Whenever I notice myself starting to enact the habit, I stop, relax my hands, and take 5 deep, slow breaths.

This has the double benefit of making me aware of what I’m doing – giving me space to concentrate on not doing it – and relaxing me, as deep breathing can’t help but relax you! So, if I’m enacting this bad habit out of anxiety or stress, it’s a one-two punch.

Funnily enough, I’ve actually found that it’s not stress or anxiety that usually sets me off (frankly, I don’t have much of either in my life) – I usually do it when my hands aren’t busy (when I’m watching an episode of Supernatural – Nick and I are watching the whole series from the beginning – or when I’m out walking).

I’ve changed a lot of thought patterns and behaviours throughout my life already, but I wanted to share that super-small, super-simple example with you all, because that’s the sort of change I’m talking about today.

Don’t overthink it – don’t make it complicated – just pick one tiny little thing, and do it.

Because if you change enough tiny little things, you’ll be living the life you dream of sooner than you think. And then, one life really will be enough.

What will you change today?


See all MotiBrights here.


Van Den has written 319 posts in this blog.

Jess Van Den is the editor of Create & Thrive, and has been a full-time creative entrepreneur since 2010. She makes eco-conscious, contemporary, handmade sterling silver jewellery under the Epheriell label, and blogs about her jewellery and other beautiful things at You can catch her on twitter @JessVanDen.


Fiona Draney

Thanks for the reminder that it is the little things Jess. I am combining some tips from you here. I have found in the last month that I have been able to commit to 30 minutes most days of getting organised….clearing through old paperwork etc. So my next plan is to commit to 30 minutes most days of getting to my crafty bench.


That’s awesome, Fiona – organisation is one of the things on my own ‘must-improve’ list. I’m naturally messy, though I’m a lot better than I used to be!

I love your next plan – 30 minutes of craftiness per day sounds like an ace goal to me!

What say you?