Seven Ways Not to be Too Busy with Life

So, what can you do to avoid the disappointing feeling that you missed out because you were too busy with life? Which one of these seven ideas will you try today?

Rock People in white ring on the ground at base of bush. Rock People are rocks with painted on eyes.Seven Ways Not to be Too Busy with Life

Do you get so focused on the daily routine that you stop appreciating the little things in life?

I think this happens to all of us.

I recall a time when our family was camping at a Mountain Man Rendezvous in Montana. We were in the Flathead National Forest adjacent to Glacier National Park and surrounded by all kinds of natural beauty. We were in the midst of a high desert environment in the mountains recreating a fur trade rendezvous. There were all kinds of contests, activities, and the long walks to the portajohns to keep us busy along with daily life camping chores. The day before we were to leave our son realized he would not have the mountain view anymore. He was disappointed at missing out on it due to the busyness of rendezvous. Wow, the wisdom of children.

Purple flowers slightly dusted with snow with autumn forest floor in background.So, what can you do to avoid the disappointing feeling that you missed out because you were too busy with life?
Here are some ideas to consider:
  1. Learn to recognize when you are too busy. Plan your activities so you can enjoy them rather than jam pack your schedule. Jam packing and “having” to do it all can cause a lot stress.
  2. Purposefully think about the good stuff in your life. Each night before bed list 5 things you were thankful for that day. It might be stuff like sunshine, food you ate, the joy of someone you opened a door for, maybe you found a penny, or maybe you looked out your window toward a beautiful view. You get the idea.
  3. Schedule time to do something you really want to do but haven’t gotten around to. It could be starting that new book you bought a month ago, grabbing a cup of coffee with a friend, or just going for a walk.Purple flowers slightly dusted with snow with autumn forest floor and pine trees in the background.
  4. Train yourself to recognize the small niceties that keep life interesting. A friendly greeting from a clerk, an unexpected email from an old friend, or the smile you received when you complimented someone.
  5. Place mementos or photos in strategic spots in your home and work space to remind you of fond memories. When you see the memento, take a few seconds to think of and appreciate the memories you made.
  6. Pick your “yes’s” wisely. Realize you can’t do it all. Saying “yes” to one thing means saying “no” to something else.
  7. Take time to slow down and reenergize. A friend of mine likes to sit and “watch a tree grow.” What is your version of slowing down?

Which one of these seven ideas will you try today? Pick one now before you get too busy. Start appreciating the little joys in life!Snow piled high on tree stump with tree trunks, dried grasses, and other stumps in background on snow covered ground.


You Can “Own” What You Eat For a Healthier You

. . . benefits to writing down what you eat: Ownership of your choices and accountability to yourself for the results. There is not a right or wrong way to “own” what you eat.

Cooked, sliced brisket on cutting boardAre you always rationalizing what you eat? Do you eat the same portions as your meal companions?

You can “own” what you eat for a healthier you!

The simple truth to eating like you want to be eating is to “own” it. Yup, that’s right — accept what and how much you are eating. Once you’ve done this, you can then decide if you want to make any changes. It’s all up to you!

The easiest way to know what you are eating is to track it by recording it or writing it down. Open notebook and ink pen.It doesn’t matter if you use paper and pencil, an app, or a list on your phone. Once you see what and how much you are eating, you can develop a plan to be eating how you really want to eat.

Not convinced? Here are benefits to writing down what you eat:

  • You will know specific foods and quantities you are eating.
  • Seeing it in black and white makes it real.
  • You can track macronutrients, carbs, calories, or fat.
  • Ownership of your choices and accountability to yourself for the results.

This “ownership” doesn’t have to be painful. You decide how to record what you eat. If you forget to write down a day’s eating, oh well. Don’t be hard on yourself. Decide to either forget it or try to remember what you ate and record it as best as you can. It’s your plan — so you decide the rules.Veggie omelet with 2 slices of bacon and slight view of fruit cup.

There is not a right or wrong way to “own” what you eat. I like to use an app and record what I eat pretty quickly after I eat it. Some days, I play catch up and write it down at the end of the day. I also like to track my exercise and weight. All of this together helps me work toward my goal. I have tracked water consumption in the past but don’t choose to do this on a regular basis. Again, you decide what works for you.

I realized that I can’t eat what others around me eat and the quantities I want to eat, and be able to maintain a healthy weight. Salad in black plastic bowl with napkin, fork, and croutons package on left.This and setting a goal was my springboard to decide to “own” what I eat. This ownership and taking responsibility for what I eat have helped me change my eating habits. Also, setting an attainable and measurable goal has helped too.

“Own It” today and take charge of your eating habits. You decide what to eat, how much to eat, and what is healthy for your body. Own It!Lox N' Loaded plated food with smoked salmon, tomato, cream cheese, red onion, capers on a toasted bagel

Finding Your Motivation

Keep working toward your goal(s) and remember to celebrate the smaller steps along the way! The journey is part of getting to your destination.

White and black Newfoundland dog laying with head between paws and the paws are dirty from digging in the dirt.How’s your progress on your goal? Has Mr. Motivation shown up yet?

Need some kick starter ideas to get moving toward achieving your goal? Keep reading and grab from these 3 ideas to move forward. Find your real reason(s) you want to achieve your goal.

1  List all the reasons achieving your goal would be good for you. Whether your goal is to lose/gain weight, eat healthier, save money, get organized, or improve some other aspect of your life–start your written list. For example, eating healthier could possibly help you:

    • Be healthier
    • Achieve a healthy weight
    • Have more energy

Now, list one or two benefits to each item from the first list.

  • Be healthier: lower cholesterol, less illness
  • Achieve a healthy weight: clothes fit how you want them to, feel good about how you look
  • Have more energy: doing activities, exercise, housework; pursuing new interests

2  Make “posters” of your goal and  top 1-3 reasons for wanting to reach it. Put these reminders where you will see them throughout the day. Possible places could be the bathroom mirror, back of your phone, phone or computer screen saver, cabinet door, and the back of the door you leave your home by. You get the idea — find what will work for you.

3  When you have a choice to make that will impact working toward your goal, come up with a “check” to determine if your decision is worth it. Is it worth it to buy that extra tube of lipstick or music download when your goal is to save up for new car tires? Do you need or want the item? Will you want the item next week or have buyer’s remorse? How bad are your tires and how soon do you need to buy them?  Asking and answering such “checks” can put your desire into perspective and encourage you to make a wise choice for you. Check out this “A Life of Productivity” blog post, “Every Yes Is Also a No” written by Chris Bailey. I find this an encouragement to have these “checks” in my decision making.

Keep working toward your goal(s) and remember to celebrate the smaller steps along the way! The journey is part of getting to your destination.

Ideas to Help You Achieve Your Goals

Be patient, kind, but firm with yourself. If you veer from working on your goal, plan to get back on track.

Landseer dog on frozen and snow covered edge of Lake SuperiorIt is almost the end of February. How has your consistency been on working toward your new goal(s)?

Is it time to celebrate OR Do you feel defeated and disappointed?

Hooray if it is time to celebrate — and be sure to keep on working on your goals. If your feeling disappointed, consider the following:

  • Is the goal you set really important to you? If not, think about what you really want and how to go about achieving it. Revisit setting S.M.A.R.T. goals. If your original goal is important to you, keep reading for more ideas.
  • Do you need to chunk down your goal into multiple, smaller steps? If so, get busy and do it.
  • Do you need some extra support? Does your goal lend to have an accountability person or buddy who is working on a similar goal? If yes, then line up a goal buddy.
  • Do you need positive reinforcement and something to look forward to in the future? Set up a reward system for yourself. Maybe putting some money in a jar each week you achieve 80% of your weekly goals. You can then plan to treat yourself with your “earned” goal savings when you decide how to celebrate later. You could make a refrigerator chart with stickers marking your progress with a picture of the reward on your chart.
  • Do you need a motto or theme to remind yourself all your work toward your goal will pay off? Create or find your goal motto and write it on 3 x 5 cards. Post on your mirror, refrigerator, front or back door, and cabinet door. Anywhere you will see your goal motto for encouragement. You could even create a screensaver with your motto! Make your motto meaningful to you!
  • What will you receive from reaching your goal? Is it worth all the sweat, sacrifice, and work it will take to reach it. Write down ALL the benefits of accomplishing your goal. Put this list where you can see it every day.
  • Not feeling motivated? Schedule time to work on your goal. Do not let yourself “call off” on YOUR goal appointment. Show up, start your work on your goal, and before you know it you’ll be humming along toward finishing that day’s goal work. Schedule, show up, do the work, and repeat. All those appointment days will add up to progress toward your goal.
  • Be patient, kind, but firm with yourself. If you veer from working on your goal, plan to get back on track and begin to do what you need to do. Maybe you have to cut back on the time you can spend per day or week toward your goal, but you’ll still be moving forward. Life circumstances can interfere but it doesn’t mean life will always be like that.
  • Do you need to develop some new habits to support your work toward your goal? This could be a smaller goal to be achieved as part of the big goal. They say it takes 31 days of doing a new “thing” to make it a habit. If you go after a new habit, commit to it, do it every day, and write down that you did it every day for 31 days. Start over if you miss a day—not having to start over can be a big motivator!
  • Are you committed to achieving your goal? Is it so important to you that you are willing to do what it takes to accomplish it? If yes is your answer, figure out ways to consistently move toward meeting your goal and receiving the rewards it will bring you. Hopefully, the above suggestions will help you harness your efforts. Consistency in working on your goal is the key to conquering the challenge of achieving your goal. Remember, schedule-show up-do the work-repeat.

Make Consistency Your New Year’s Goal

Remember that racking up daily short term successes can result in long-term results. Consistency is key!

Picture of white and black Newfoundland dog looking up.Looking forward to 2018? Well it’s that time of year again. Most folks set their resolutions or goals for the new year. Losing weight, eating healthier, going to the gym, taking a class, and doing something on the “bucket list” are often popular targets. Usually we’re picking something we want to improve to make our life better. No matter what we pick to start or stop — consistency is key.

Let me interject one point here—before consistently working toward that goal, it is important to set a “good” goal. We can use the SMART acronym (see note below) to set up for success.

S   – specific
M – measurable
A   – attainable
R   – realistic
T   – time based

Eating healthier is a good goal. Will this general of a goal be met and can it be measured? No to both. How about eating one salad every day for two months? It is specific, measurable, and time based, but is it doable and realistic? It is doable but possibly not realistic. It would depend on one’s schedule and lifestyle. Let’s change the goal to eating 3 salads a week for 1 month. Is that better? What about eating 2 servings of fruits/vegetables 5 times a week for a month? The specific goal can be tweaked to compliment one’s goals, schedule, and lifestyle. Plan for success without making it too easy or too difficult. Next, evaluate what to do based on how much of the goal was reached.

Once a “good” goal is decided, planning step by step how to reach it is important. Having the healthy foods on hand to eat is one step. Preparing and cooking foods ahead is another step. Remember that racking up daily short term successes can result in long-term results. Consistency means doing something in a regularly scheduled way.

When consistently working toward a goal, it is not easy to see results on a daily basis. Results are often seen after weeks of consistent investment toward reaching that goal. All of the hard work, overcoming obstacles, and many times of getting back on track are worth it for the results that can be achieved. Consistency is key!

Note: According to Wikipedia, George Doran first used the SMART acronym. Doran, G. T. (1981). “There’s a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management’s goals and objectives”. Management Review. AMA FORUM. 70 (11): 35–36.