Doug and Lynn Nodland

Doug and Lynn Nodland

We recently had our 43rd wedding anniversary. Our marriage keeps getting better with time.

Speaking of time, we saw a special on digital smart watches and thought that would be a wonderful gift to each other to help us have many more happy, healthy years together. We’ve all heard the expression “No time like the present.” This year we changed that to “No present like the time!”

However, these watches are not just about time, they can also help us be healthy. We can use them to count our steps, tell how far we’ve run/walked, count calories burned, measure our heart rate and depth of sleep, as well as many other features.

As we were getting used to our new watches, we were reminded of a talk we heard where the word “watch” was used as an acronym on how to live a successful life. It also contributes to having successful relationships. We’ll share some of the concepts with you.

The letter W stands for Words. Watch the words you speak. We’ve written before about the power of words. Some pertinent quotes from unknown sources come to mind — “Words are free. It’s how we use them that may cost you.” “Be careful with your words. Once they are said, they can only be forgiven, not forgotten.” The words we speak to each other have the power to tear down or build up. So choose your words wisely.

The letter A stands for Actions. Watch the actions you take. We’ve just talked about the power of words. However, there is another saying that we’ve all heard, “Actions speak louder than words.” When a person tells you one thing and then does the opposite, which has a bigger impact on you, their words  — or their actions? Typically, it’s their actions. “Every action has a reaction, everything we do or say has an effect” — Heidi Ayarbe. For example, sometimes a hug or caring smile can express more than words can ever say.

The letter T stands for Thoughts. Watch the thoughts you have. In 1902, a British philosopher and author, James Allen, published an essay called, “As a Man Thinketh." It is based on a Bible verse (Proverbs 23:7) which says, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” In this popular classic, Allen said that the key to mastering your life is the ability to harness the power of your thoughts. Ron Willingham agrees when he says, “You have the power to change your thoughts and your thoughts have the power to change your life.”

The letter C stands for Character. Watch the character you develop. Good character builds trust. Without trust it is difficult to be respected. We like a quote by J.C. Watts, “Character is doing the right thing when nobody is looking.” Doesn’t that about sum it up! We’ve all watched the news and seen people of power, fame and fortune resign, leave office or go to jail because of character flaws. Billy Graham said, “When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when character is lost, all is lost.”

The letter H stands for Habits. Watch the habits you have. “We first make our habits, and then our habits make us” — John Dryden. We all have habits. The question is — are they good for us or bad for us? The problem is that bad habits are easier to develop than good habits. Also, good habits are easier to give up than bad ones. Aristotle was correct when he said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

We can see that the letters in the acronym, WATCH, each represent a word that applies to a principle that can have a powerful effect on our lives and relationships. We think the following quote by Frank Outlaw ties everything together quite well:

“Watch your thoughts: they become your words.

"Watch your words: they become your actions.

"Watch your actions: they become your habits.

"Watch your habits: they become your character.

"Watch your character: it becomes your destiny.”

What about you? How are your words, actions, thoughts character and habits affecting your life?

Even though technology has changed dramatically over the years, some principles remain constant and have stood the test of time.

We encourage you to use your watch, not to just tell time, but to also prompt you to think of the WATCH acronym to help you watch for the five principles we shared as a guide for a happy, successful life.

Chanhassen residents Doug and Lynn Nodland are success coaches and owners of The Balance Center. Doug and Lynn can be contacted at More information and videos at