Think Positive Mondays: Celebrate the Small Things

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(Think Positive Monday: sharing tips and keeping me in line to live a happier and more positive life)

I love having an excuse to celebrate. A reason to break open a bottle of champagne, dig into some cake, gather around with friends, or take a night off from the regular routine. 

In our home, we make it a priority to celebrate the small moments and wins. Those small milestones need their own time to shine just as much as the big life accomplishments. When you think about it, those big accomplishments most likely wouldn’t have happened without the smaller ones. 

Finish a project at work? Receive an A+ from your dentist? Manage to de clutter your home office? Follow your workout regimen to a T? Pass a hard text at school? Go on an awesome date with a potential new partner? Make it to a Friday on a particularly bad week? Let’s celebrate!

By celebrating the small milestones in life we are acknowledging the journey, not just the destination. We all can benefit from celebrating the unique path that our lives are taking us and not just focusing on the end game. 

Also, when we acknowledge these small moments it allows us to recognize the gifts the journey is presenting us. We are forced to pay attention to the little positive aspects of our life, making us aware that good things DO happen to us. In turn, those positive memories stay with us for a lifetime. Reinforcing the idea when we truly need it, when the road gets tough. 

So take a moment. Celebrate the small moments, the small changes, and the small accomplishments before they slip away. Savor the champagne and enjoy every bite of that cake. Cheers to you! 

 

Think Positive Monday: Make Commitments, Not Resolutions

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(Think Positive Monday: sharing tips and keeping me in line to live a happier and more positive life)

Happy New Year! I too am suffering from holiday break hangover this morning. It was a festive, indulgent, and relaxing holiday vacation. Now, we are refreshed and looking at the blank slate that is the New Year with optimism and high hopes. 

Yes, New Years, the time of resolutions. We all make them, even if we don’t broadcast them out over social media or to our friends and family, I can’t help but believe we all make small decisions to improve ourselves and our lives.

Many sound the same: live a healthier lifestyle, save money, lose weight, sleep more, quit smoking, drink less. 

I personally have vowed to follow two resolutions:

1. Save More Money

2. Relax More (a hard endeavour for an overly anxious woman like myself)

But the problem with resolutions? By March most of them have gone out the window. We are overly optimistic these first few weeks, thinking we hold the ability to turn our lives around. Then our busy schedules, stress, and old habits start to come back.

Fact: We always have the ability to turn out lives around.

The real problem with New Year’s resolutions is the fact that they are all overly vague. They are broad, general, ideas. So, you say want to live a healthier lifestyle…have you selected your meal plan or your weekly gym routine? How will you hold yourself accountable?

Yes, I’m determined to save more money, but without a working budget, a list of things we are going to cut from said budget, and a way to keep myself on track, that determination is nothing more than an optimistic thought. I say I want to relax, but if I don’t have a plan for the entire year of how to stress less I will never make any changes.

This may sound obvious, but if it is so obvious, why do so many people fail on their New Year’s Resolutions?

It’s all about the commitment. The act of following through, which takes an action plan and dose of daily intention. 

I vow to not just make resolutions but to make commitments. In order to save money we are in the process of dropping our cable subscription and finding ways to cut back on our grocery budget. In order to relax more I’m going to commit to practicing meditation and yoga,  go to bed earlier, and teach my mind to learn that it’s okay to let things be. 

What commitments do you plan to make for the new year and what is your plan for following through on them?

 

 

Think Positive Monday: Making Time for Christmas

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(Think Positive Monday: sharing tips and keeping me in line to live a happier and more positive life)

The phrase, “Make Time For Christmas” sounds a little odd.

Why do I need to “make time” for Christmas when the Christmas season is banging on our door the minute after Halloween ends? I’ve been shopping, prepping, decorating, singing Christmas songs, and baking all season long. Christmas is everywhere. I don’t need to “make time” for it, I’m living it every second. 

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Yes Christmas is everywhere. And as much as I love this season I sometimes catch myself just going through the motions. Sometimes treating traditions like another thing to check of my ever-growing to do list. Before you know it, Christmas day is upon us and over in a blink of an eye. Pretty soon all the decorations are coming down and music goes back to our regular non festive favorites and we’re stuck with Winter blues. 

I think one of the most fun things about Christmas is the preparation.

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The decorating the tree, the baking, the making bows for packages,the buying of the gifts, the parties and all the treats and music. If you’re only thinking of the end game, you’ll be missing out on more than half the fun.

It’s easy to get caught up in the rush and busyness and forget to actually enjoy the little things that makes this holiday so special. The little things ARE the big things and I think that can often get lost in this overwhelming time of year. 

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This week I’m promising myself to really make time for Christmas.To savor the waiting. To reflect on what this season really means to me.  To bask in the glow of the Christmas tree with a good book. To dance to Christmas music with Ryan while we’re making dinner. To spend extra time with family and friends. To allow the season to bring out the child in me. To admire beauty to act silly and sing my heart out. To take notice of every little detail and memory. I want to enjoy every little moment the best I can.

So I’ll be signing off the blog for the rest of the week to truly enjoy Christmas. You can always follow along on instagram.  

My brother and his wife arrive tomorrow and we have a full week of fun and love with my family and Ryan’s family and friends. It truly is the most wonderful time of the year.

I wish you and yours a very Happy Holiday Season, however which way you celebrate!  

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Think Positive Monday: Less Holiday Stress

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(Think Positive Monday: sharing tips and keeping me in line to live a happier and more positive life)

I love this part of the year. I love the happiness, the warmth and coziness, the memories, the traditions and the way most people seems to soften a bit. I even like the holiday rush. But this time of year can also be extremely stressful. There are high expectations, budget constrictions, conflicts between family members, and sometimes it feels like there is no time to relax.

I aim to keep Christmas a happy time for myself and those around me. We try to limit meltdowns and over committing. To keep us as relaxed as possible from Dec 1 – January 2 I try to follow these two tips:

Two tips for lessening stress during this busy holiday season:

1. Set Your Priorities and Stick To Them

Early on in the season have a conversation with your partner, or yourself, discussing what your top priorities are in the Holiday Season.

Look at your calendar and decide what will work with the amount of free time, money, and sanity you have. Don’t overbook yourself. Decide what traditions or family events are mandatory and then add on what you know will make you the happiest. I scheduled a few parties with friends and mandatory family events and then made sure I still had time to do my own favorite Christmas activities like baking cookies, wrapping gifts, watching Christmas movies, reading, and lots of quality family time. You can’t do it all.

2. Remember You Have No Control Over Other People’s Behaviors

It’s always hard being around people that you simply don’t agree with or get along with. But when I’m trying to enjoy my favorite time of year, being around negative or toxic people is even harder. I try to remember that I can’t change those people, they are who they are. The only thing I can control is my own behavior. I use these opportunities to treat others the best way I know how. Be responsible for your actions and don’t worry about others.

How do you make it through the holidays without stressing?

 

Think Positive Monday: Choosing the Good Over the Bad

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(Think Positive Monday: sharing tips and keeping me in line to live a happier and more positive life)

“Miracles start to happen when you give as much energy to your dreams as you do to your fears.” Richard Wilkins

So often I’m quick to jump to the negative. One bad thing can make my entire day the worst. We all know misery loves company, that’s why it is so easy to metastasize and grow into something it is not. Pretty soon all the good little things in our day are forgotten and we are left with this big black cloud of ugliness. 

To help train my brain to focus on the good and not just the bad I practice this simple exercise.

Every night before bed I schedule in 10 minutes to mentally list three good things that happened to me that day. After I’ve thought about 3 positive experiences I then expand upon them and list why those good things happened. 

For example, on Friday one of the good things that happened that day was:

  1.  Knowing I was having a rough time my boss gifted me a pretty poinsettia and a Christmas ornament. (And this happened because my boss is kind and understanding)
  2. My mom was doing better after some bad health earlier in the week (And this happened because of good doctors and knowing how to take care of herself)
  3. After weeks of research and anxiety over it I had finally selected my new health insurance plan for 2015 and it’s better than what I had this year (and this happened because of patience, research, and the second patient eyes from Ryan, my Mom, and my boss)

A little awkward at first, but your brain should soon get into the habit of seeing the cause and effect of the good things in life too. 

It’s Christmas time, so don’t just be a little kind to those all around you, be a little kinder to yourself too. Love really is all around, you just have to look for it. 

 

 

 

Think Positive Monday: Live The Life You Imagine

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(Think Positive Monday: sharing tips and keeping me in line to live a happier and more positive life)

“Look closely at the present you are constructing. It should look like the future you are dreaming.” Alice Walker

We all have hopes for what our future will look like. I’m a big day dreamer and one of my husband and I’s favorite things to do on Sunday evenings is to reflect on the weekend and talk about our hopes for the future. I like to think of it as our own unique type of church. It allows us to feel connected, fills us with hope and motivation, and ready to conquer a new week. 

But what about right now.

When you think about it, it’s truly tragic that most of us waste so much of our time hoping and pining for the near and distant future while we are ignoring the life we are currently living. 

Yes, hope is an important part of life. It’s spectacular to have goals and things to look forward to.

But let’s try not to pin all of our thoughts on the future. I’m guilty of saying things like, “When Ryan graduates”, “When we have a family”, “When we buy a house”, “When we live here” or even tinier things like “When the holidays are over”, “When it is warm out again”, “When I’m not so tired”. 

In order to reach those dreams I need to start the foundation of them now. It will take time and action. It will take more than sentimental thoughts and simple hopes and dreams shared over the sunset and a glass of wine. 

Yes we are all busy and yes we are all stressed. But happiness does not lie in future endeavours and plans, it lies in your present thoughts.

Don’t put off happiness. Only you can take charge of your hopes. Turn them into more than just dreams. Or else you will be continuously striving for something that is just out of reach. That happiness will elude you time and time again.

I’m going to start taking positive actions every day. I have to be happy now in order to be happy in the future. I want to paint my present life to look like the beautiful piece of artwork that is the star of my hopes. 

 

 

 

Think Positive Monday: When All You Feel Is Negative

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Two weeks ago was a rough week for me. No matter what I did I couldn’t get myself out of a negative mood. I lost myself in a fit of ugly crying almost every day. It seemed like whenever I tried to lift myself up I would end up feeling worse. Nothing seemed to be going my way. And then we turned back the clocks and the sun setting at 4:30 p.m. only made everything worse. I just couldn’t get myself out of the dumps.

During that week I was catching up with a friend. I was venting and ranting about everything in my life. It wasn’t until I paused and stepped outside of the conversation to realize how everything I had said was 100% negative.

I said to my friend, “I’m sorry all I’ve talked about is negative stuff.”

And she replied, “Don’t be sorry! That’s what is going on right now!”

And it’s true. Sometimes life is simply negative.

I think sometimes we’re afraid to admit that life is hard or that we are failing. Especially us women. We are afraid that we will sound weak or like we are not happy with our life. When that’s not usually the case. Sometimes we just hit bumps in the road or we are just having a bad day. But things will always get better. You simply have to push forward and find the good. No matter how annoying, silly, and impractical that sounds in the moment.

I’m so grateful for this weekly series because if forces me to continue to be positive, even when I just want to have a pity party and complain about every little thing. Last week I couldn’t help but feel a bit hypocritical, writing my sunshiny post when meanwhile I could barely pull myself out of bed. But it helped. It’s a reminder that you have to try.

It’s like working out. You don’t really love going but you do it to improve your health. You have to practice the positivity exercises even when you don’t feel like it. Give yourself an hour or day to be upset and then try to move forward with practicing positivity. 

We all know the saying, “misery loves company” don’t let your thoughts duplicate to the point that they are the only thoughts habitating your mind.

Step out of the situation and give yourself a minute or to and practice a positivity exercise. Things aren’t going to get magically better, but I bet over time you will begin to learn to deal with the negative occurences in your life in a much healthier way.