"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." --Aristotle
You know, I can't remember how many times I have gone shopping, parked, walked all the way to the shopping centre's entrance and then forgotten whether I've locked the car. Invariably I have, out of sheer habit. I just do it without even thinking.
Habits are like that.
While there are some habits that we may desperately try to overcome- smoking, negativity, overspending and more- other habits can produce a powerful and positive impact on our lives.
Here.... at the start of a new year, with 365 days ahead to fill with purpose and make a difference, 365 opportunities to grow a life of possibilities, meaning and impact.... I want to make this my best year yet. I don't want just regrets, backward glances and lingering memories of what's come and gone. I want to look ahead with excitement!
Over the next few days, weeks and months, I'll be sharing some ideas and some challenges -- that will help me and you, too, I hope- to find my best year ever. So look out for my '365 days' ideas and inspiration. (And, just a little hint- this article about creating meaningful habits is the first.)
So, what habits do you want to break? Maybe it's spending too much on lattes and other coffee shop delicacies; social media overload; focusing on 'things' over people; maybe you need to stretch yourself beyond your comfort zone; perhaps you want to stop saying 'yes' to every demand on your time.
And what about habits that you want to create that will have real impact on your life? I've listed 10 suggestions that will have a positive influence in a previous article.
But creating new habits isn’t easy. So here are six simple hacks that will make it a little easier. Use them until you’ve internalized the new habit and don’t need them anymore.
1. Schedule it and put it on your To-Do List
Sometimes we forget to do that new thing we were trying. Maybe we forget that we’re supposed to be having eggs for breakfast instead of a stack of waffles, or that we need to get that daily walk in.
Schedule your new habits or make them part of your daily to-do list until they become something you do automatically.
(If you want a hand with this you might like to consider the Mini Goals Notepad or this beautiful daily planner/ to-do list. Begin your planning for change now!)
2. Make it public and be accountable
Let family and friends know what new habits you’re trying to establish. They will call you out if you don’t stick to your plan and get you back on track.
You may even go as far as sharing it publicly on Facebook or write a blog about your new journey. Knowing that others read it and know about it might be just enough to keep you going when you feel like throwing in the towel.
3. Piggyback on a habit you already have
Whenever possible, add the new habit to one you already have. For example, if you fix a cup of tea or coffee at 4pm, and you want to get in the habit of taking a daily walk, make the new ritual to go for your walk and then come back and enjoy your tea.
It’s much easier to amend an existing habit or ritual than creating an entirely new one.
4. Make slipups costly
Here’s a fun idea. Put a jar on the kitchen counter and each time you slip back into your bad habit or forget to stick to the new one you have to put five dollars in the jar. It will quickly help you remember to skip that sugary food and motivate you to go out for that walk. For extra motivation donate the money to charity at the end of the month or hand it over to your spouse to go spend on him or herself.
5. Find a partner and help each other along
Find someone with the same or similar goal. This could be a workout partner or a diet buddy. Keep tabs on each other and encourage each other to keep going. It’s much harder to skip a walk if you know someone else is depending on you being there.
6. Make it a group challenge
If one accountability partner is good, a whole group is even better. And they don’t even need to be local. Find a supportive group online and challenge each other to stick to your new habit for the next 30 days or so. Not wanting to be the first one to give up will keep all of you going until you establish that new habit.
Give these simple little hacks a try. Keep using the ones that you find helpful until you have made new habits you can stick with without the help of any tools or support.
Key Takeaways: Things to do....
•Download and use the beautiful daily planner/ to-do list and begin planning for change now!
•Do you wish you could find time to refuel your tank, improve your health, invest more into your family, or even just to slow down and breathe? Take the 14-Day Make Over My Mornings online course now!
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Christmas is over and we’re almost at the end of 2016. We spend so much time preparing for the festive season that it’s easy to feel a little deflated when it’s all finally over.
You might be thinking back about the food you prepared and the time you spent with your family, and considering how you could make it even better over next year’s festivities. You also might be thinking about the gifts that you gave and received.
After Christmas, our houses often tend to be full of tat that we don’t really actually want, like toiletry sets that we wouldn’t choose ourselves and scented candles that we don’t particularly like, and you probably found yourself buying some of those token gifts for your nearest and dearest too! Here are some ideas for gifts you can buy over the course of 2017 so you end up with a successful and satisfying Christmas next year.
A lot of people say that in the long term, an experience is better as a gift than a new possession. Consider splashing out on a set of tickets for your loved one – take them to the theatre, or to see their favourite musician, or to a comedy festival for the day. If you do a little research in your area, you’ll be sure to find interesting shows that you could go to together – but if you aren’t much of a theatre buff, then you could just hand over a set of tickets and talk to your friend about their experience later! If you’re not sure what exactly they’d like, go for a set of vouchers or a gift card, as your recipient will enjoy choosing something they really want to go to themselves.
A Daredevil Experience
If your recipient is the sort of person who likes to get their blood pumping with an adrenaline filled activity, you could go for a daredevil experience day like parachuting or maybe rally car driving. You don’t have to worry about them – all gift experience days will come with very careful safety regulations, meaning that they can go a little wild and have an incredible day while you can stay at home without any concerns at all!
One of the most valuable gifts you can give anyone is your time. If you feel as though you haven’t seen your friend or family member as much as you’d like to, why not take them out for afternoon tea? It’s one of the best meals to catch up at – you won’t drink too much or stay out too late by mistake like you might in the evening, and it’s a little more formal and like a real treat than brunch. Check out the nice hotels in your area for the best menu, and make sure that you dress up nicely and make a real day out of it.
Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for an afternoon – teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime. That’s how the saying (almost) goes, right? It makes sense that you would consider getting cooking classes for one of your loved ones – that means that they can learn and develop skills that will last their whole lives. The great thing about cooking classes is that they can work for chefs on any level, from absolute beginners to almost-professional cooks who want to pick up some new skills. Send your twenty-five year old son who survives on takeout to rudimentary beginners’ classes, or buy sushi making or patisserie lessons for your sister who loves to cook. Whatever the level of your resident chef, you can find a class that suits them.
A Makeover and Photoshoot
Is there any gift you can give that’s better than helping someone to feel beautiful and good about themselves? A makeover and photoshoot session can do exactly that. If you have any friends or relatives who aren’t feeling great, or who’ve recently had a baby and who are living in leggings, or who recently got divorced and is looking to get back into dating, then amp up their self esteem by buying them a makeover. Not only can they learn about what colours suit them and purchase some new makeup to make themselves feel fabulous, but they’ll also get a set of photos to take home that will demonstrate to them that they’re just as beautiful on the outside as they are on the inside.
One of the most thoughtful gifts you can give anyone is a book. Whether it’s one you loved and want to share or simply a novel you think they might like, a book can open up new worlds by exposing people to new thoughts and ways of being. If your recipient isn’t much of a reader, then give them a book about their favourite band or TV show, or go for an accessible book of poems to show them that reading isn’t too scary or difficult.
A Hotel Break
If your recipient tends to be quite tired and stressed out, then a hotel break is a generous and thoughtful gift to give them. Choose one with a spa, and pay for a treatment for them, so they can enjoy a hot stone massage or maybe a cupping treatment to help get the tension out of their body and prepare them for the year ahead. It’s always a little risky to choose a specific weekend because you never know what plans your busy pals have already made, so either ask them for dates before you book, or hand over a gift card with all your love and best wishes.
A Subscription Box
No matter what your gift recipient’s interests are, there will be a subscription box to suit them, from books to beauty to vegan food to pets to fresh flowers to geek lifestyle products. Not only does a subscription box mean that you don’t have to pick out a gift yourself (and potentially get it wrong!) but your loved one will be receiving a subscription box for a few months, meaning that their Christmas gift will stretch on well into the new year and that they’ll think of you fondly every time a new one comes through their letter box.
If you find yourslef struggling with a lifeless complexion, then there are options out there that can help fix it. Here's how..
In a world with a myriad of skin complaints, skin being dull and lifeless is quite far down the list of concerns.
You're not in pain - as you would be with acne, dermatitis or rosacea.
You're not significantly impacted regarding looking your best - something rosacea and wrinkles are the queens of.
So... what's the problem?
The problem is that we associate vitality with health. If your skin is dull, gray and not looking its best, then it can be difficult to like the reflection you see in the mirror. Just because it isn't a more severe issue doesn't mitigate from the fact it's still pretty unpleasant to have to deal with.
If you find yourself struggling with a lifeless complexion, then there are options out there that can help fix it. Some involve a change of old lifestyle and habits, or perhaps there's something new you should be doing?
1. Exfoliate, Exfoliate, Exfoliate
So necessary it needs repeating thrice. You may have heard some of the frankly alarming statistics about how many dead skin cells we shed each day; it's enough to make you want to take a hot shower. This constant shedding doesn't just happen on the body, but our faces too.
Simply washing - or even using traditional cleansers - isn't enough to shift it. You have to exfoliate the dead skin cells away and remove them completely. You can do this either manually with facial scrubs or use a new wave of chemical exfoliants.
2. Check your water
We are so used to associating water with nothing but good things that the idea it might be causing a problem is somewhat bizarre. Surely water is the thing that we utilize when we're trying to brighten our skin - how can it be the enemy?
It's not the water itself, as in the pure oxygen and hydrogen molecules, that are the problem. The water we wash with, drink from taps and surround ourselves with has a number of trace elements along with it. Most of these are picked up through the water refinement process, particularly magnesium and calcium from rocks that water passes through. As they are not harmful to internal health, they're not removed by public works.
What they can be harmful to is skin health. There are links now beginning to emerge that suggest particularly "hard" (i.e. mineral-heavy) water can worsen or even cause eczema. They do this by layering up on the skin. As they're not water disposable, you can't wash them off. If you have persistent issues with dull skin, then you can look here for some ideas on how to lessen the damage.
3. Fill your plate with avocados.
There are multiple reasons to eat avocados, but glowing skin is right up there with its most important powers. Avocados are rich in biotin (also known as B7), which is essential for cell repair and regeneration. You can supplement biotin should you wish to, but it will always be most effective eaten as part of a natural diet.
If you love baking and you want to make your creations even better, or you’re just getting started, there are so many different tips you can use to make your baking out of this world. This guide will give you some great tips to help you. Enjoy!
Take Your Decorating Up A Level
You should know that people eat with their eyes just as much as they do with their mouths. Your baking should look as good as it possibly can, whether you’re creating cupcakes, cakes, cookies, or something else. Try to take your decorating up a level. Some people like to use a syringe filled with icing to help them be more precise when decorating. If you have no icing, that’s no problem either. You can use something like powdered sugar through lace to create a really pretty pattern with little effort! If you really want to take your decorating up a level, you could even take a course to learn how to create really cool decorations.
Try ‘Cleaner’ Ingredients For Healthier Bakes
There are many traditional ingredients used in baking, such as butter, milk, white flour, and so on. However, there are ‘cleaner’ ingredients you can use. These ingredients won’t necessarily make your bakes lower in calories, but they will definitely add more nutrients and be healthier for the person eating them. For example, some people like to use avocado (often termed a superfood), or even coconut oil rather than butter. There are a ton of dairy alternatives you can use too, and then there are different kinds of flours too.
The Pan In The Centre Of The Oven
Make sure you place the pan as close to the centre of the oven as you can get it to cook your bakes perfectly. You should also rotate the pan during baking to ensure that everything is being cooked evenly. Knowing your oven is absolutely crucial for getting your baking right each and every time.
Grate Off Your Burnt Bits
Burnt your bake? No problem! Simply grate of the burnt bits gently and you’ll save them.
Invest in Appliances To Help You Get It Right
There are so many different appliances you can invest in to help you get your baking right with minimal effort. It might take some of the magic out of it, but if it creates something delicious, who cares? A bread machine could help you to create the perfect loaf, for instance. You can read reviews on a site like Bread Machine Mom to help you.
Remember, Baking Is Basically A Science Experiment
Baking is basically a science experiment. Getting each ingredient right and in the perfect amount is key to creating something of the desired look and consistency. As with just about everything, practice makes perfect.
Hopefully you use these tips to help you make your baking out of this world. Remember, don’t panic if you don’t have a certain ingredient in when you decide to make something. There’s nearly always an alternative that you can find in the house. Have fun!
Children can be picky eaters, much to the despair of parents across the land. We want them to eat nutritious, balanced meals - and their only focus is on when they can next get a hot dog. If you have more than one picky eater - including adults! - in your household, then mealtime preparation can be a juggling act worthy of Cirque de Soleil.
[ Foundry / pixabay ]
If you're trying to persuade your picky child to broaden their palate to more nutritious foods, you need to ensure you're not falling foul of the most common problems. Do any of these sound familiar?
Problem #1 - You Introduced Too Much, Too Soon
When you decide to make a move to eating more healthily, it's hard to hold back. You while away hours to perfect food preparation; you shop for produce whenever you can and delight in the changes you are making.
For kids, however, these changes can come at a pace that is too relentless. You can't expect them to go from the sugar-laden, bad for them (but tasty) food to something that feels a lot starker overnight. They may even be going through withdrawal from some of the chemicals they had previously been consuming.
When you switch the way you're eating, you have to phase it in gradually for kids or face instant rejection. Don't forget that kids can be stubborn, too - if they reject something, you're going to be in for a rough time trying to persuade them otherwise. So ensure every new item you introduce to their diets appears gradually, as you phase out the bad and phase in the good.
Problem #2 - Food Is Too Chunky
This is particularly a problem for younger children, not far from a time when all of their food was puréed (http://www.parents.com/recipes/baby-food/how-to-fruit-puree/).
As adults, we tend to cut things into thick chunks. We want to be able to taste each vegetable or strip of meat individually, so we cut quickly and at random. It also saves time for having to carefully slice a vegetable into infinitesimally small pieces.
For children, this can be off-putting - particularly if they have never experienced vegetables at such a high quantity. They see something that is large and unfamiliar and have an instant desire to avoid it. If you notice your child is eating around vegetables, consuming sauces but not the veg itself, then this might be the problem.
You don't have to return to the world of pureeing, so don't panic about that - you just need to slice veg thinner, so it hides better in the rest of the dish. Specialty knives such as those found at http://www.cutitfine.com/ can make a big difference in this endeavour. Your knives should be sharp and small enough to make decisive cuts rather than leave large chunks.
Problem #3 - They Just Don't Like It
No, this is not akin to giving up! All of us have different taste buds; what tastes good to one person will taste horrific to another. If your child is not rejecting everything but just particular items, then they may just decidedly not enjoy that item. If it's a blanket refusal, then this is unlikely to be the cause, but for single issue items, it might be worth skipping those and finding matching nutrients elsewhere.
Getting creative is a must. Many people neglect their creativity, what with the busy lives that most of us lead these days. They work, clean up after their kids, cook, and getting creative falls by the wayside. There are so many different opportunities to get crafty and have fun. Here are some ideas you’ll love if you want to get more creative!
Everyday Crafting Tips
There are so many things you can do to incorporate crafts into your everyday life. If you notice a hole in one of your favorite items of clothing, you could easily stitch this up. Why replace something when you can easily fix it? Instead of instantly going out to buy something you need, you could even try to make it. Need a blanket? Learn how to crochet. Want an authentic looking wooden table? Grab some cheap stuff from Ikea and put one together yourself! There are millions of tutorials out there that will help you to create whatever it is you have in mind. Here are some ideas that could inspire you to get more creative every day:
Crafting for Birthdays
Birthdays are such an awesome time to get creative. Think about it; is somebody going to feel more special if you buy them something, or make them something? Making somebody something takes so much more time and effort than going out to buy something. You could even just make a card. Handmade presents and cards will be really sentimental for the receiver and they can be so much fun to make. Here are some ideas you could use for somebody’s birthday!
Crafting for Christmas And New Year
For Christmas and new year, you can make presents and cards too. But how about making decorations? You can make Christmas tree decorations and all kinds of fun things. This is so much fun to do, especially if you have kids around to help you. Here are some great ideas for Christmas and new year:
Crafting on Your Wedding Day
Your wedding day is one of the most special, memorable days of your life. Why not make it super special by personalizing it? You could make some of your own decor and signs, for example. You could even go for something like Pure Invitation wedding invitations that are personalized to make your guests feel special and give them an idea of what’s to come.
Crafting With Kids
Crafting with kids is so much fun, as you get to bond and make some great stuff at the same time. It’s always good to let your inner child shine every now and again. You could make jewelry like friendship bracelets, scrapbooks, and so much more. There are even ready made kits you can buy that allow you to grow crystals, and other science experiment type things. Here are some more ideas!
Hopefully, these tips have given you a better idea on how you can get crafty for every occasion. There are so many different tutorials out there for all ability levels, so you have no excuse! Just make sure you have the supplies you need and you can get going. You can really get lost in crafting different things, so try it and you might have a new favorite hobby!
Life as a grandma.. it's no 'quiet, restful days in the rocking-chair'. It's filled with activity, excitement and lots of family fun. Please share it with me.