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Welcome to episode #33 of the Morning Upgrade Podcast. In this episode, I had a conversation with Aaron Smith, the Utility Manager at a University and the author of Happy Thoughts Happy Life. When he’s off work, he enjoys going outside and connecting with nature.

Top Talking Points

  • The importance of practicing gratitude as part of your morning routine.
  • Happiness is about what you are feeling at the current moment.
  • Different positions to try during meditation for greater effectiveness.

Resources & Links

Share Link for this episode

Connect With Aaron at Happythoughtshappylifethebook.com

Find The Books Mentioned on Kindle or Audible

Happy Thoughts, Happy Life by Aaron Smith

Man Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

Subscribe to The Morning Upgrade Podcast Today

Thank you for listening to The Morning Upgrade Podcast this week with Aaron. If you enjoyed the episode be sure to subscribe to the podcast and leave a review.

Episode Transcript

Ryan 

Hey guys, it’s Ryan real quick. So my mission with the morning upgrade blog and podcast is to raise the awareness of morning routines and personal development. And I now have two products that are also helped me with this mission. The first product helps you start a 20 minute morning routine. And the second product is a book that outlines how to use personal development upgrade your life and business. You can get full details on both products over at morning upgrade.com. Thanks for letting me share and now on to the show.

Announcer 

Welcome to the Morning upgrade podcast with Ryan Cote where we feature casual conversations with entrepreneurs about personal development and growth.

Ryan 

Hey, everyone, this is Ryan Cote with the morning upgrade podcast. And today I have with me Aaron Smith. Hey, Aaron.

Aaron  

Hey, Ryan, how’s it going?

Ryan 

It’s going great. Going really well. It’s frigid in New Jersey at this time, which I know you can’t relate to because you’re in beautiful San Diego where it’s the nicest day in the world every single day, but it’s freezing here

Aaron  

That’s too bad. It’s great here. Wish you were here. The shorts today.

Ryan 

Shorts. Wow. So why don’t we start off by you telling everyone what you do. And then what your interests are?

Aaron 

Well, I work for a major college campus and I’m a facilities manager, I have a lot of outdoor interests. You know, I love the outdoors. I like hiking, trail running and anything to get out in nature. I enjoy it and helps clear the line. I like to work out a lot too. And that’s pretty much it.

Ryan  

We connected because you have this. He wrote a book around personal development and Morning Upgrade, the podcast, is in the blog. It’s all about personal development, and morning routines, etc. And so I know you have a book called Happy thoughts happy life. So I definitely with you, you know today part of the conversation, I want to dive into, you know, kind of like a, like a summary of your of your teachings in there like mindset and habits. But why don’t we first start off by talking about if you’ve got one, your morning routine? What does that look like?

Aaron  

Oh, sure, yeah, morning routines, I think an important. That’s one of the things I love about the name of this podcast, the morning upgrade. Yeah, that when I wake up, I go through a little routine of just closing my eyes and thinking about things to be grateful for, you know, starting your day with some gratefulness, thoughts, and makes me feel good. And when you start your day feeling good, it adds a boost to the rest of your day, you know, so I go through that. I also exercise a lot, I typically work out about an hour in the morning. I do a lot of trial runs, like I said, like outdoors, you know, getting out in nature, in just being grateful for everything around me and the outdoors. Also, do some like some positive statements, some I am statements about myself, and I can’t speak enough to just starting your day with things like that. 

Ryan

Like positive affirmations? 

Aaron

Absolutely.

Ryan  

Or journal them? Or do you have them written out? Or is it more you’re thinking in your head about it a set number of the same affirmations that you do every morning? Or does it change?

Aaron  

It changes a little bit. I have a few different ones I go through. But I like to change it up. I don’t have it written down in my head pretty much. And sometimes it’s depending on what my day is going to be like. So I’ll change it up. Like, you know, really helps me feel better about the day, and how I am going to approach it.

Ryan  

How long? How long does your morning routine take? Is it 30 minutes an hour longer?

Aaron  

Well, when I first wake up and I go through some affirmations and some gratefulness, thoughts, those things only take about 10 minutes. But, you know, as I said, when I’m working out, especially when I’m running it like it’s really, I can think clearly and go through some mindfulness things and just be grateful for the day.

Ryan  

Gratitude practice has been so huge. So huge for me. I always say like if someone wants to start a morning, morning routine, but they don’t want to, they don’t want they can’t commit more than 10 minutes. I think just practicing gratitude alone is a game-changer. I write it down. But you don’t necessarily have to either but there have been some times where I wake up and I’ll just think about what I’m grateful for him not necessarily writing it down. So either or whatever works. I think that alone is a game-changer – gratitude practice.

Aaron  

I believe in it a lot. And even throughout the day, I’ll think of things to be grateful for especially if I can tell my feelings about mood starts to go the wrong direction. That’s the best time to use some gratefulness.

Ryan  

Yeah, especially I think, you know, with this year that everything that’s happened, I feel like it’s personal development is more important than ever work on your mindset, you know, staying positive. I think this year is shown everyone that you need to have a rock-solid mind in addition to a strong physical, you know, physical self as well, but the mind, the mind cannot be ignored. That’s for sure. Needs to be strong. Yeah.

Aaron 

Yeah, absolutely. This year is a test for the long end. And, you know, you can choose to go in one direction or another, and really, working on the positive side is the way to go.

Ryan  

Yeah, definitely. Yeah, I do have a morning routine every single morning. I haven’t missed it in a very long time. And I feel like it’s helped me a lot this year. I, Morning Upgrade, I’m big into morning routines. I’ve, I’ve seen the benefits of it this year, so I can’t recommend it enough. Let’s talk about your book air and see what made you write it like what cuz that’s a big thing is before we started recording, you said it’s a project in the works for about two years. So obviously, it wasn’t an easy task. But what made you want to write a book? What was the motivation there?

Aaron  

Well, I wasn’t generally a happy person before, and I wouldn’t say I was depressed or anything, but I wasn’t getting the most out of life. And I did, I started reading and studying different other different books, and, you know, learning on learning how to work on myself and sort of took some things from different books, and I added little things for myself, and, you know, came up with a good plan and, and just constantly worked on myself and got better, and improved my life. I’ve had great results with it. So I just felt the need to share it. I spent two years writing the book. And it’s just, it’s a small book too, and doesn’t take much to read. But I think it hits on all the key points that really can be useful in life-changing, changing yourself.

Ryan  

Your process has probably changed over the last couple of years, you’re probably refining your approach to your happy life throughout it the whole process of writing the book if I had to guess.

Aaron  

Yeah, that’s true. Constantly worked on different techniques, and just focus on the ones that worked the most. And, yeah, it’s a process. And that’s sort of felt like writing about.

Ryan  

So given the topic of your book, I have to ask this question, I often like to ask, because everyone’s approach to happiness is a little bit different. Their definition of happiness, what makes them happy, where they choose to be happy, or how they get happiness? What’s your definition and approach to happiness?

Aaron 

Well, to me, happiness is really about your feelings at the moment, all the time. And when you can work on your thoughts that control your feelings, those feelings can affect your overall happiness. And, to me, happiness, affects everything you do in life, whether it’s your work, whether it’s your family, life, everything, everything can be improved, by just improving your happiness. And that starts with working with your thoughts, which ultimately affect your feelings. And if you constantly have good feelings, throughout your day, everything in life is easier. And everything is better your tongue happier person. That’s the key to me.

Ryan  

So let’s give some concrete examples to those listening. I also want to talk about habits. So maybe we frame the answer around habits for developing that positive mindset, the positive thinking, Do you have any habits or any tips you can share on what you teach in the book and what you found to work best for you?

Aaron  

Yes, absolutely. It becomes easier over time. But at the beginning, it’s really about paying attention to your thoughts and pay attention to your feelings. So basically, when you start feeling a certain way, you start feeling a little bit down, because the thought may be that you have built throughout your life. So you have certain reactions to certain things. Maybe it’s the way somebody drives or something and you built this habit of negative thinking or around certain things, but you have to change that. And it’s really, you have to make a conscious effort to control your subconscious to me, like your subconscious can control all these thoughts unless, unless you’re actually consciously changing them or consciously working on them. In your subconscious. This is controlling your life. And if you don’t work on those thoughts and those feelings, it’ll just take you wherever you programmed it to begin with. So it’s really about reprogramming your thoughts and reactions to different things in life, and about trying to change things positively. So thought that you have a negative thought that you normally have about something, just change, you have to change it to a positive thought. And gratefulness goes a long way with that, think about things to be grateful for, well, do I have to get angry about somebody cutting me off? No, I’m grateful for the ability to drive my car to work every day and have a healthy life. So things like that.

Ryan  

Yeah, it reminds me of something I heard in a podcast, once we’re there, they were talking about how you, you can’t necessarily prevent bad things from happening. But you can choose how you react to that bad thing. And obviously, there were different degrees of bad things. And this is obvious, some things are easier than others to apply this to. But, but you know, you can, you can choose to, you can choose how you react to the situation. And that’s, that’s something that no one can take from you, you have that full control in the book, Man’s Search for Meaning. That’s the big message behind that book is, you know, choosing how you react to things, even if things are going well for you. Is that kind of where what you’re thinking there.

Aaron  

Yeah, exactly. And once you start making habit changes, you know, around thoughts and in choosing more positive ways to react, your overall happiness changes, and it’s just a matter of working on it from other it’s the moment to moment, day to day, you know, constantly working on it, then once you start changing your thought habits, it all becomes easier because more natural secure, your subconscious has been reprogrammed. Life is better.

Ryan  

I can agree to that, you know, with the graduate practice that I do, not that I don’t get into bad moods, but if something negative happens, I do feel the emotion, but it subsides much quicker than it used to. And I do 100% attribute that to, you know, the gratitude practice and the affirmations and all that. Is there anything besides those two things? So you mentioned affirmations, you mentioned, positive thinking, he also mentioned kind of training your brain when it goes to a negative thought, bring it back? Is there anything else like meditation that you do that will help everyone listen?

Aaron  

Meditation helps clear the mind clear look, being able to clear the mind helps you control your thoughts better. So when you’re controlling your thoughts you can build a more positive mindset. So meditation, I do believe in it, I think it’s really useful. I use it. Yeah,

Ryan  

I’m a huge meditation fan, I’ve started meditating, it’s might sound a bit crazy by meditating on my back, like laying down on my back with my knees bent. Okay, and then my arms out to my side, kind of like I’m flying a little bit. So you picture on your knees bend, with your arms out like a much more open stance. First of all, it’s nice to kind of lay down, but having your arms out where your body your posture is very open. I’ve only been doing it for about a week, but I think we’re gonna make it a permanent part of my meditation routine, because it’s just the experience of meditation, it feels different when you’re in that position. For me, at least.

Aaron  

Interesting. I’ll try that one. I know, most important to be as comfortable as possible. And that sounds like a comfortable position for you.

Ryan 

I’ve got one last question for you. And then we’ll wrap up by you telling everyone how they can learn more about you. And, the book that you read, which might like I said before mindset happy positive thinking definitely can’t recommend that more. So, but my last question for you is, what is the perfect day look like for you?

Aaron 

To me the perfect day, you know, you start with gratefulness, the same morning routine we already talked about and then working out trail running, going on a trail run with my wife. We love it. We have so much fun and just being out in nature, you know, that are hiking was my entire family. That laser lens, so perfect day, I love being out in nature, nature, and you know, being grateful for everything that is out there for us. And you That’s it. That’s it.

Ryan  

Well, that’s the perfect day. Stay away from New Jersey, because you won’t be doing that today. Unless you had some sort of like parka honor. Some like heavy-duty jackets and pants.

Aaron 

Oh, yeah. Well, yeah. That doesn’t sound like a perfect day. But I’m grateful to be here in San Diego and be able to be outdoors as much as possible.

Ryan  

Yeah, absolutely. Well, I enjoyed speaking to Aaron. If anyone wants to learn more about you or grab your book, what’s the best website that they should go to?

Aaron  

Happythoughtshappylifethebook.com. That’s my site. And I have a blog there. My book’s on Amazon. It was just put in Good Reads for a free book program. We’re going to give away 100 copies of it. So check that out, too.

Ryan  

Excellent. Yeah. We’ll link that up in your show notes. Thanks, Aaron. Appreciate your time. And thanks, everyone for listening. 

Aaron

All right. Thank you, Ryan.

Ryan  

Thanks for listening to the Morning Upgrade podcast. Please subscribe and review. And don’t forget to visit us at morningupgrade.com for more content.

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