[success]The secret of living a life of excellence is merely a matter of thinking thoughts of excellence. Really, it’s a matter of programming our minds with the kind of information that will set us free. ~ Charles R. Swindoll[/success]

Making minor changes in your daily life will make a major difference to the ease with which you fulfill your dreams. Why settle for mediocrity when five simple changes can lead to a life of excellence.

1. Commitment

If you’d have begun anything last year, or the year before you’d be twelve or twenty four months better at it than you are today.

Don’t let that stop you.  Begin now.  But only commit yourself to what’s best for you. Don’t be misled by the opinion of others…their opinions are no more valuable than your own.

Desire is what stirs your soul into movement, but it’s persistence, and a relentless commitment that gets you there. That’s the price you pay for success.

Commitment means keeping the promises we make, the contracts…spoken or unspoken that we form with ourselves or others.

Each time we break a promise we’re radiating vibrations of how untrustworthy we are, we’re out of touch with our values and our true authentic self.  You’re going to make choices that won’t please everyone in your life. Just make sure at the end of the day that you’ve lived a life that you’re proud of, one that pleases you.

2. Use the power of positive influence

One of the biggest challenges in life is becoming a selective listener. Much of who you are right now is an accumulation of the influence of others. There’s a daily input of influencers, some who have larger than life personalities, some who shock and horrify, some who inspire.

Choosing selective listening allows you to tune out the voices that don’t lead towards the fulfillment of your desires.  Make it a habit every day to listen to or read something that contributes to your well being, happiness and success.

Every insight you need to be happy, healthy, successful, rich or enlightened has already been written.

Others have shared their experience, knowledge and wisdom to inspire and encourage you to rearrange your thinking or change your entire philosophy on life and create the habits that turn your dreams into reality.

If you want something different, you must be someone different and do something different. Squeeze the juice of life out of every inspiring encouraging voice. Don’t allow anything to stop you from setting aside time each day to rise above the voices of negativity, immerse yourself in positive and uplifting influences and update your approach to your life.

3. Cultivate optimism

Don’t let your negative tendencies overwhelm you.

As Winston Churchill said: For myself I’m an optimist, there doesn’t seem much use to be anything else.

But have you noticed how easy it is to let doubt cloud our optimism, fear stall our actions, or confidence to be worn away by worry?

Feelings of anger, fear, anxiety all undermine your optimism.  Even those with the most optimistic outlook can fall prey to persistent expectations that the worst is likely to happen.

Surprises happen. Shock happens. Life happens. But if we go looking for disaster around every corner there’s a good chance we’re going to bump into it. Try redirecting the energy used for spotting what’s wrong with your life and begin guiding it towards looking for what’s right.

4. Appreciation

Focus on the beauty of life. My grandma used to tell me to be grateful for small mercies. Gratitude always opens the door to happiness. Be grateful for the appliances that keep your household humming, for the bed to rest your weary head, for running water and ever present electricity to light your nights. Many in our world aren’t as lucky.

When you’re feeling a little down turn to appreciation. Take time every day to breathe a sigh of thanks for the amazing people, wonderful situations and joyful times you’ve had. Value your life…it’s the only one you’ve got and doesn’t last for ever.

Be willing to share your appreciation of others. Practice being their biggest cheerleader. Tell them…don’t assume they know of your admiration. A little praise and encouragement might make a big difference to someone and you’ll be amazed at the results. Since what you put out is likely to come back to you in spades, before too long you’ll have cheerleaders of your own.

5. Replace daily errors with daily disciplines

Each day presents us with sets of choices and decisions. The important thing is that you make choices that lead to your happy future.

As Aristotle said: excellence is not an act, but a habit and the most successful among us have developed success habits. Every choice they make sets them up for the results they want.

Wasting a day, leaving things until tomorrow, ignoring problems, eating those extra mouthfuls, or frequently complaining might seem mighty unimportant and the sky doesn’t fall, so you feel okay.  But outcomes seldom appear instantly, they’re the result of cumulative effort.

One bad habit merges into the next, piling one on top of the other until the day of reckoning when they come crashing down and you discover you’re miles away from where you thought you were going.

Imagine taking a trip from New York to Los Angeles but each day you’re half an inch away from the proper route. Doesn’t seem like much; but at the end of the journey, you’re more likely to find yourself in Canada than California. That’s the cumulative effect in action.

If you find yourself a long way down the wrong road, be smart enough to turn around before the sky does fall or you end up precisely where you never wanted to go. Remember you can do amazing things once you’ve made the decision to do so.

Be strong enough to change your thinking (see # 2 above).

Be courageous enough to recognize you laid the groundwork for life as it is today.

But most of all never forget YOU are the powerful source that transforms old habits into new disciplines that bring your dreams to life.

In the comments below let me know what habits are leading you towards, or away from, a life of excellence.  Please share as many specifics as possible. What you have to say might just make the world of difference for someone else.

Thank you, as always, for reading, and sharing. You seriously rock!

Encourage one another.

Love Elle


Elle Sommer is the author of 4 books and a workbook. Her latest publications are a series called The Power of Consciousness, and you will find all three books in this trilogy now available on Kindle. She shares quotes, inspiration and positive vibes on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. And her greatest desire is to encourage and inspire others to create not just a good life, but a phenomenal life.


  1. That’s great advice to share with people your admiration for them.

    When often assume people just know how we feel about them, but it’s still good to remind them. And doing this could change the whole dynamic of your relationship for the better.


    • Elle

      Hi Lea…it took me a little while to get that those around me weren’t mind readers and I needed to speak out loud my words of respect and admiration. And you’re so right…it makes a huge difference. 🙂

  2. Great list, Elle. I’ve personally found that gratitude or appreciation is indeed the gateway to happiness. The more we are grateful for what we have, the more content and happy we are. It is is an instant mood-booster and creates positive energy in our lives.

    Another habit that i’ve been trying to practice of late is forgiveness. There are so many people and things that have the potential of upsetting us each day. Instead of anger and criticism, I am opting for forgiveness and letting go.

    Enjoyed reading this hope-filled post towards living a life of excellence, Elle.

    • Elle

      More words of wisdom from you Vishnu. I so agree with you about gratitude/appreciation and letting go. Such powerful yet simple forces that free our energy to invest in more good things. 🙂 Would love to know your experiences with forgiving. 🙂

  3. Ok, I’ll try again. Just tried to comment but was denied.
    Hi Well,
    Infulencers are very important in our life, especially when were are children.

    It’s very important to keep optimistic and grateful. I’ve been through a lot this month of March and I had to make double sure that I stayed that way.

    Thank you for sharing those beautiful thoughts.

    • Elle

      Hi Sylviane, glad you got through. I have a rocking spam filter, sometimes it rocks just a little too much! Hopefully April is going to be a wonderful month for you and with your attitude I would bet March goes out like a lamb. 🙂

  4. I think I’m still on the path to California. I loved that analogy; really puts it in perspective. Cheers

    • Elle

      Let’s travel together Linda. I have relatives who live in Canada and their not entirely thrilled with the weather this winter. Probably too chilly for my thin Florida blood. I’m such a wimp. 🙂

  5. I think it’s worth noting that there is a fine line between being optimistic and being delusional. Likewise, the same for gratitude and settling. I just feel like very few people mention this and it’s easy for people to get the wrong idea.

    Love that Aristotle quote by the way. Successful people are simply those with successful habits. I think Brian Tracy said that.

    • Elle

      Hi Jeremy, no surprise to hear that others take the wisdom of the sages and reuse them today. All the wisdom required to live meaningful lives has been spoken or written and all we need do is pay a little attention. As for optimism and gratitude, like all things in life we require balance. And I’d be really interested in hearing your experiences of the fine lines between them Jeremy. 🙂

      • I think what I meant was that it is important to know when we become delusional from being overly optimistic.

        Here’s a simple example. I distribute 100 tuition flyers and I don’t hear back for 2 months. I can choose to be “optimistic” and tell myself to be patient (possibly delusional), or I can get to work and distribute even more flyers.

        When it comes to gratitude and settling, it’s important to know that gratitude is not supposed to replace settling.

        A simple example. I hate my job to the core. I can choose to say, “at least I have a job. Millions are jobless and don’t even have a roof over their heads,” or I can choose to say, “I will quit my job now, and I will work hard so that I will never have to return to this job. But I’m grateful for this sucky job experience because it’s given me a strong enough leverage to work really hard and never come back.”

        Hope you got the idea!

        • Elle

          Gotcha Jeremy. Always good to see how consciousness works in everyone’s world. 🙂

  6. To me, appreciation goes a long way… When things don’t go the way I’d planned (or hoped), I think about the things that did go right and realize that for that situation, it wasn’t my “turn” yet. Thank you, Elle!

    • Elle

      Good for you Cher. Far too many times, too many of us find it easier to focus on what’s not working and to be able to turn around and think of the times things have gone right creates a wonderful success energy that can carry us through to our next project. Yay you. 🙂

  7. Wonderful advice! Appreciation goes a long way in my book. I think I do, at times, get caught up in what isn’t going right, what isn’t happening. I do this and then forget about all the great and wonderful things that are. I think by focusing on the good and on what’s going right, more things go right, oddly enough. Or, maybe it just feels that way. 🙂

    • Elle

      It takes practice Jessica to begin to see life more often from the place of what’s right…not sure why most of us were conditioned to look at life through the other lens. And I know what you mean that more things go right when you’re focused on the good in life…and there’s always some regardless of what’s currently happening. Good for you. 🙂

  8. Hi another great reminder. True indeed that small praises and encouragement makes a big difference in someone else’s life and it makes us feel so much better. Thanks for sharing.

    • ElleSommer

      Hello Lynne…have you had any experiences lately with praise and encouragement? Would love to hear them. I find there are times when people have a hard time accepting words of kindness, or even acts of kindness. If they could only see that they give a gift to the one who gives, by receiving, it would probably be easier to accept. What’s your experience with this? 🙂

    • ElleSommer

      Hello Anne and thanks for taking the time to share your views. Sadly, it isn’t always easy to follow advice, even when we know it’s good and would be helpful, we have so many old, disempowering thoughts taking up the space! 🙂

  9. I love people like you who freely share their wisdom and seek wisdom. I hope the seeds you planted brings forth a joyful day for you today. Thank you.

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