cross the bridge coaching

How to Write a Happy Story Every Day

It can be a seemingly daunting request to write a happy story in just four words. But a recent Twitter hashtag prompted many around the world to take a stab at it. What resulted was an inspiring list of posts that included:

Had courage to change.

Passionately living my dream.

Love makes a family.

No one’s truly alone.

Sometimes even a creative hashtag can become a gentle reminder of how we should be mindfully living on a daily basis. When the sun rises each morning, we all face an important choice whether to write a happy story or a negative one.

Contemplating how to write our own happy story forces us to look inward and find gratitude for love, kindness, or friendship—not things—and also to embrace awareness for our purpose in life. Asking introspective questions of ourselves is a wonderful way to grow personally while making a positive contribution to the world.

Tomorrow, before your feet hit the floor, close your eyes and think about how you want your story to be written. Tap into your emotions and then recognize all you are feeling. Then think about how you want to conduct yourself despite your challenges. How do you want people to remember their interactions with you? What do you want to accomplish that will make you happy?

Keep a journal next to your bed. After you have identified your story for the day, write it down. Some examples might be:

Today I am going to:

Make a positive difference in someone’s life.

Show confidence in all I do.

Treat myself like I would a friend.

Practice positive self-talk.

Believe in myself and my abilities.

Take one step toward making my dreams come true.

Tell my children I love them no matter what.

Remember, you are the only one who can tell your story. Although you may not have the power over unforeseen events or hurdles that may occur along the way, you do have the power over your attitude and how you choose to impact those around you.

Writing your own happy story every day allows you to live in the moment and create the life you deserve. With every sunrise comes a new beginning. Get busy writing.

Vicky DeCoster is a Certified Life Coach who specializes in helping her clients move past obstacles, create a plan for happiness, and cross the bridge of transition to find a new and fulfilling direction in life. To read more about her and her practice, visit her at


Three Steps to Enhance a Relationship

Why do some marriages survive a lifetime when others fail after just a few months? Although it is a question many experts are still struggling to answer, many happy couples swear their success comes through constant communication, the ability to adapt to life changes together, and realistic expectations of their partner.

Although none of us are perfect, many of us presume our partner or spouse can read our minds, will act the way we want them to act, and always know the right thing to say. But in reality, these types of expectations are just not plausible. The happiest couples know that relationships need to be tended to like gardens. They do not take each other for granted, are steadfastly committed to their relationship, and respect each other’s individuality and dreams.

So what can you do today to enhance your own relationship, starting today?

1.      Listen more than you talk. 

This exercise may be one of the hardest things you’ve ever done in your lifetime. During a conversation with our partner, we may have their best intentions in mind when interrupting during a disagreement, story, or even a heartfelt apology to interject our own opinion. But it is often more effective to sit back and really listen to what our partner is saying. The after-effects of listening more than we talk are often life-changing. In the end, we all want someone to listen and then make an attempt to understand us. We are all complex beings who crave the gift of unconditional love, especially from the one we have pledged to walk through life with forever. The next time your partner initiates a conversation, just quietly listen. What you hear may be more illuminating than you ever imagined.

2.      Identify each other’s wonderful attributes. 

Often, we get caught up in talking about all the things that annoy us most about our partner. Yet at one time, we were attracted to our partners because of all their wonderful attributes, not their faults. Schedule a time when you can both sit down together, uninterrupted, and create a list of ten things you love about your partner. Do not show your list to your partner until you are both done. Then read your list aloud and watch how the mood in the room completely transforms. When you are done sharing, hang your partner’s list somewhere where you can see it on a daily basis (like a bathroom mirror). Finally, use the list as a reference and make a point of complimenting or encouraging your partner at least once a day. When you say things like, “I love how you kiss me goodnight,” or “I so appreciate you doing the dishes after dinner tonight,” or “You are so good at comforting our kids when they are sad,” you bring the kind of positive energy to your relationship that will sustain you through the most challenging of times.

3.      Plan adventures

Experiencing adventure together creates a bond like no other. Adventure can mean different things to different people. To some, it may mean climbing Mount Everest. To others, it might mean traveling the country via two-lane highways. To another, it may mean taking a class to learn to make chateaubriand for two. A great way to identify future adventures is for each partner or spouse to create a vision board that outlines all their interests (snowboarding, hiking, cooking, running) as well as the places they would like to visit one day (England, the Rocky Mountains, a gourmet restaurant in France, or the Caribbean). Once you have your vision boards created, each of you should then identify the first adventure you would like to experience with your partner. Toss a coin to determine where you will go first and then, follow through with the plan. While on your adventure, take photos that capture the fun. Display the photos on your desk at work or at home as a gentle reminder of all the reasons why you love your partner and why fate brought you together in the first place.

It’s true: making your relationship successful does take time and energy. But the rewards for your efforts are worth more than anything else in this world.

Vicky DeCoster is a Certified Life Coach who specializes in helping her clients move past obstacles, create a plan for happiness, and cross the bridge of transition to find a new and fulfilling direction in life. To read more about her and her practice, visit her at

Release Your Need to Be Right

Photo by Vicky DeCoster

Photo by Vicky DeCoster

There are times when it’s important to be right like when taking away the keys from an impaired driver or performing CPR to save a life. But in today’s divided world, the need to be right is often ruling many conversations and discussions, either in person or online. Expending all our energy in an attempt to sway someone to believe the way we do can be exhausting and frequently limits us in listening to and accepting the views of others. So is it really possible to release our need to be right all the time?

There is no question we all want to be heard. Our opinions, thoughts, and feelings are important. But it is equally as important to stop talking and listen during a conversation with loved ones or strangers on the subway or a Facebook friend. Truth be known, we are not all alike in how we view the world around us. Our perspectives are different and that’s a good thing. When we listen to and honor the opinions of others—even when we disagree—we not only open ourselves to new possibilities, but also to new ways of thinking. Simply put, letting go of our need to be right expands our knowledge of the world around us.

In breaking old habits such as the need to be right, it is sometimes helpful to utilize these three tips:

Take a deep breath. During a passionate or heated conversation, it is easy to become defensive when believing, “I must convince this person to think exactly how I do.” Instead of using all your energy to sway the person to your side, instead take a deep breath to remind yourself that it is okay if we all view a situation a little differently.

Really listen. Instead of thinking about what to say next to defend your own views, really listen to the other party (or parties) in the conversation. Everyone offers a unique perspective. Even if you passionately disagree, listen anyway. Remember, we are all in this world to learn. If you are always talking over others, how will you learn?

Express gratitude. Thank them for expressing their opinion. You might say, “I appreciate your opinion. I may not always agree with you, but I enjoy that we can have a respectful conversation with each other.” It is a blessing often taken for granted that we live in a country where we are free to express our opinions.

Releasing your need to be right comes with the possibility of viewing your life—and those around you—in a new way. It is really okay if they do not think the same way you do. Think about it. How many times have you actually changed someone’s mind when they firmly believed they are right? When you let go of your need to be right, you allow yourself to be free. Your opinions belong to no one else but you. And that feels pretty darn good.

Vicky DeCoster is a Certified Life Coach who specializes in helping her clients move past obstacles, create a plan for happiness, and cross the bridge of transition to find a new and fulfilling direction in life. To read more about her and her practice, visit her at

Three Ways to Expand Your Comfort Zone Today

Stagnancy in life can be stifling. When it seems like we are simply treading water and going nowhere, the resulting apathy has the power to rob us of energy and, worse yet, hope. Truth be known, we all feel safer when we are functioning within a comfort zone where we can easily predict our days and even what might happen next.

Photo by Vicky DeCoster

Photo by Vicky DeCoster

Sometimes the possibility of change can seem overwhelming and even frightening. So, how does one find a way to overcome long-held fears, break down the walls that surround a comfort zone, and begin believing that you can achieve your dreams? Here are three ways you can begin expanding your own comfort zone today:

  1. Do one thing you pledged to never do in your lifetime. Whether it is singing karaoke in front of a crowd of strangers or holding a snake, prove to yourself that you can conquer your nervousness and actually do something you never thought was possible. When tackling real change, this exercise will help you to remember all the times when you overcame self-imposed hurdles and lived to tell about it.

  2. Plan an adventure. Have you ever wanted to backpack in the mountains? Run a marathon? Take a class in rock climbing? Learn to deep sea fish? Expanding your comfort zone to include new adventures will not only test your character, tenacity, and drive to work past obstacles, but will also prove that you are capable of resolving daily challenges in innovative and creative ways.

  3. Try something new. Whether your new thing is sampling a plateful of frog legs or ice skating at Rockefeller Center, seek to experience all that life has to offer. Even if you end up pledging in front of the waiter to never eat frog legs again or swearing you'll never lace up a pair of ice skates in your lifetime, these experiences still have the power to transform your mindset to believe that you can walk through fear to test change—even if it turns out that it is not right for you.

When we take one small step at a time to expand our comfort zones—and survive—it is conceivable to teach ourselves that life is an adventure meant to be embraced, loved, and, most importantly, lived to the fullest.

Vicky DeCoster is a Certified Life Coach who specializes in helping her clients move past obstacles, create a plan for happiness, and cross the bridge of transition to find a new and fulfilling direction in life. To read more about her and her practice, visit her at