In the hustle and bustle of our busy world, small things — like finding our keys or keeping a clean kitchen — can make a world of difference. Simple habits practiced over time can have profound effects on our sense of equilibrium, especially when we develop healthy and consistent habits early in our lives.

As an adult, I still hear my mom’s voice in my head giving me practical nuggets of advice — in fact, sometimes I hear it several times a day.

And this is a good thing.

Let’s admit it. Mom was right about a lot of things. Simple actions do, indeed, add-up. Even small habits over time can add up to major life changes. It’s simple cause and effect.

Need a good example? Think about what would’ve happened if the Titanic had started changing course just a few minutes earlier. The results of our actions don’t always show up immediately.

Here are some of the words of wisdom my mom gave me and my sister over the years — many things that are still great reminders today:

• Pick up after yourself
• If you can do it now, do it now
• Put things in the same place every time (e.g., your keys)
• Do the dishes and clean up right after you’re done eating
• Use reusable sticky notes reminders for the bathroom mirror or front door
• Hide a $20 in your jacket or the pocket of your pants for a fun surprise!
• Create a stash of healthy snacks within reach at home and work
• When driving, add 5-10 minutes to your start time and arrive early
• Avoid “stinkin thinkin” and re-frame negative thoughts (e.g., “It could be worse.”)
• Take time to stop and give thanks throughout the day
• Drop a friendly note into someone’s (or your own) lunchbox
• Focus on one thing at a time
• Be aware of the company you keep
• “Don’t borrow sorrow from tomorrow”
• Remind yourself, “The world needs me today!” (Thank you, Grandpa, for that)

Simple tips, yes, but still applicable.

Thank you, Yvonne, for all of the sound advice that I still practice — as best I can — to this day.

Find more tips for better balance in 21 Days to Better Balance, or another book in Michael’s collection at

Photo: My Mom and me at my first book launch, July 2011

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