Thirty Day Challenge

06.03.2019

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Have you ever created a New Year’s resolution and were not able to fulfill it? You know, when you hype yourself up during the last week of December, and then plan out your goals, and your morning and evening routines; then life gets in the way? I know I have. I failed when the goal was much larger than I expected it to be. I didn’t take my goals step by step, but tried to accomplish them in leaps and bounds. It took a bit of time and discipline, but I’ve learned to break down my goals into small daily habits that I could adapt to.

My blog does talk about Life Hacks but this is more of a personal life hack. If you’ve ever set up goals for yourself and wondered why you failed halfway through there might be a good chance you’re biting off more than you can chew.

There are a lot of YouTube channels that talk about 30-Day Challenges that may vary from health challenges, to emotional and environmental challenges. Some of the challenges might be, decluttering, getting in shape, going to bed early and even drinking more water on a daily basis. 

I follow Matt D’Avella, who was the director of the documentary Minimalism, and he has been taking on his own 30-Day Challenges for 2019. It was really fun and amazing to see how the challenges helped shaped his habits and helped him push his limits. It was inspiring.

If one of your goals was to workout in the morning, but you’re finding it hard to wake up early and still have enough energy to workout, maybe the first challenge to overcome, is simply waking up early. Instead of your goal encompassing waking up early, going jogging, making breakfast, and then going to work, maybe the goal should just be – to wake up early. You don’t have to pile everything on at once. Perhaps the next 30-Day challenge might be to wake up early and then go for a short walk; just a short walk. Nothing crazy, nothing over the top, but a simple walk.

I wanted to set up 30-Day goals through the rest of 2019, so I could see what habits stuck and which did not. They were only a 30-Day commitments, so the dedication didn’t feel overwhelming. I only had to commit 30 days, out of 365 days in the year, to see how I would adapt.

The idea here is to develop keystone habits, that will help you set up healthy habits, which will help contribute to your larger goal.

A lot of people tend to set goals and are passionate about accomplishing them, but we’re a society that is conditioned to expect immediate results. Developing patience is a skill, no matter what stage you are at in life. The habits may not be easy, but persistence is key.

I tested out my own daily challenges, and when I broke down my goals into smaller habits that I could develop over time, they were easier to accomplish and my habits stuck with me.

If you’ve had a goal in mind, and you still want to accomplish it, perhaps breaking down the goal into 30-Day habit challenges, might help. If you have a partner or friend or internet support group that can do a challenge with you- all the better! It’s only a 30-day commitment, so why not? You can find a lot of 30-Day challenges on the internet, but I thought I would make a list of 50 challenges, that I thought were interesting, down below.

Here is a list of fifty 30-Day Challenges:

  1. Drink more water
  2. Plan all of your meals in advance
  3. Practice good posture
  4. Make a green juice or smoothie every morning
  5. Eat 7-9 cups of veggies every day
  6. Keep a food journal
  7. Bring your lunch to work 
  8. Detox your house of harsh chemicals
  9. Cook a new recipe every week
  10. Eat vegan or vegetarian for a month 
  11. Take a cold shower 
  12. Eat local
  13. Take a 30 minute walk each day
  14. Walk 10,000 steps every day
  15. Take the stairs each day
  16. Go to the gym
  17. Yoga
  18. Run
  19. Set priorities for your day 
  20. Clean up your clutter
  21. Clean up your digital clutter
  22. Bullet Journal 
  23. Follow a morning routine
  24. Follow a bedtime routine
  25. Make your bed 
  26. Wake up early 
  27. Check email once or twice a day 
  28. No alcohol 
  29. No credit cards, pay only with cash 
  30. No fast food
  31. No social media 
  32. No shopping 
  33. No sugar 
  34. No soda
  35. No snacking
  36. No caffeine 
  37. Listen to audio books or podcasts instead of music 
  38. Say affirmations 
  39. Practice gratitude 
  40. Write down three positive things about your day 
  41. Draw something
  42. Meditate 
  43. Spend time in nature or at least outdoors 
  44. Take a photo every day 
  45. Take a video clip every day
  46. Read 20 pages every day 
  47. Learn a language 
  48. Learn a new word 
  49. Learn a skill 
  50. Learn to cook 

TAKE THE 30-DAY CHALLENGE! AND GOOD LUCK!

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Tips for Staying Inspired

05.02.2017

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It’s currently Spring season in the United States of America and summer is right around the corner. We said goodbye to our winter and it was quite a memorable winter season across the country.  For some, this means staying motivated in all aspects of our lives might be lacking. Summer usually means long summer nights and days where we may want to be outside and enjoying the nice weather versus cooped up inside classrooms or work environments. It also means heading to the beach, barbeques, festivals, camping trips, local park festivities and visiting hiking trails. As much as life would be easier to simple have fun all day long, I still work and I do enjoy my job.

I like to tackle four areas of my day to keep myself motivated throughout the day. My categories are my health, my ‘To Do List’, education and happieness.  Here’s a simple outline of what you can do to stay motivated to get through your days.

  1. Health- Stay Healthy
    1. Drink a glass of water when you first wake up in the morning
    2. Workout!
    3. Get enough rest
  2. To Do List- Plan Your Day
    1. Tackle the top 3 tasks you want to get done on that day
    2. The 50/10 rule- Work on tasks for 50 minutes and then take a 10 minute break
    3. Reflect daily- 10 minutes of reflection and self evaluation
  3. Education- Keep Learning
    1. Reading- Will increase your knowledge, which will keep you inspired
    2. Browsing- Learning from tutorials and actively researching on topics will increase your capabilities
    3. Brainstorm- This can lead to a gold mine of ideas of tasks you haven’t finished or have yet to plan out
  4. Happiness- Focus On What Makes You Happy
    1. Express gratitude- Think about 10 things you are grateful for each day
    2. Clean your desk- A tidy desk will be less stressful and less distracting
    3. Indulge in your favorite things- Set time aside to relax and enjoy your favorite things

Tips To Stay Inspired

Keep Life Simple

11.29.2016

0800

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So we’ve officially moved into the season between ‘fighting over products while shopping’ and ‘opening said products in one swift move’. I usually don’t go buy physical objects for this season, I tend to buy gifts in the form of experiences, however, I do understand that not everyone approaches this season the same way. 

The holiday season tends to bring on another level of stress, with the year rounding out and the pressures from the holidays added to the pressures from work and family, it can be an overall anxiety driven few months. With these additional stresses, I wanted to post some tips to help everyone to remind them to take care of themselves first and foremost. and perhaps to help keep the home front a little more simplified.

Life will always get more chaotic and complicated, but as long as we recognize it, we can counter it with with a well thought out defense.  I practice a lot of these tips, so even if you can try just one tip and simplify your life, you might be pleasantly surprised. So here it goes, I hope you guys enjoy it!

For Your Mental Health:

  1. Stop multitasking – Give your attention and focus to one thing at a time to complete a long list of to-do items.
  2. Stop driving aggressively – Take the steps to stop aggressive driving habits by getting enough sleep, planning ahead and using etiquette and kindness to other drivers. Remember that if children are in the car, they learn from watching you.
  3. Stop going crazy for holidays – Stop stressing to bake/cook a huge holiday meal. If you host during the holidays, ask everyone to bring a dish for a potluck style dinner and there will be less work for you. Stop over-shopping for the holidays. Try the 4-gift rule for Christmas: something you want, something you need, something to play with, something to read.
  4. Accept that change is in order – Acceptance is the first step to changing bad habits. Once you have accepted that you need to change your life, take the next step toward a simplified life.
  5. Program your mobile photos/videos to auto-upload to a cloud account – Never worry about uploading photos again – Try Google, Amazon, Picasa, YouTube.
  6. Use a combined social media app (Instagram)– Try Hootsuite – it combines your social media accounts and shares a post on all sites at the same time.

For Your Home:

  1. Create a command center in your home – a command center is the ultimate hub to keep your family organized. For tips to create your own, see this post.  My favorite command center item is this dry erase calendar.
  2. Create a cleaning routine and schedule it on your calendar – Schedule laundry day’s, trash days, housecleaning days, etc.
  3. Downsize – Get rid of items you don’t need or move into a smaller home.
  4. Cancel magazine/newspaper subscriptions – Read articles for free online instead.
  5. Stop buying trending clothes – Purchase classic, high-quality items in neutral colors and you will rarely need to update your wardrobe.
  6. Eat simple meals – Less thinking means faster, easier meals. Keep it simple with simple ingredients and meals that are fail-proof. Be sure to check out our post Clean Eating for Less Than $70 a Week for a family of 4 (Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks included with a shopping list!).
  7. Make freezer meals – Double your dinner recipe and freeze the rest for later. If you do this every night, then you will have 7 additional dinners in the freezer for next month.  Here are 365 days of freezer meals for more ideas.
  8. Use your leftovers – Pack them for lunch the next day or use them to make another meal – many leftovers can easily be made into a soup.
  9. Use simple recipe ingredients – Stop buying spices/ingredients for one meal. Purchase basic spices and ingredients to minimize items in your pantry.
  10. Make one-pot meals – Reduce clean up by making an entire meal in one pot.  Here are 120 one pot meals for some ideas.
  11. Unsubscribe from junk emails – Try unroll.me for bulk removal.  I did this and was able to unsubscribe from 110 subscriptions in just a few minutes!
  12. Cancel cable – Try on-demand options like Hulu, Netflix or Amazon Video.
  13. Print as little as possible – Read documents, books and recipes online. Save these items online or as a document to your computer. Less paper lying around means less to organize later.

For Your Organization:

  1. Consider signing up for an Elfster account or create an Amazon Wish List feature or giving Groupon experience gifts  
  2. Keep reusable bags in your car – These bags always come in handy for stores that give you money back for bringing your own bag (like Target) or those that charge for their plastic bags (like Aldi).
  3. Telecommute, carpool, bike, jog or walk to work instead of driving – take the stress of commuting with one of these options.
  4. Stop using credit cards and pay cash for everything – Get rid of the stress of paying interest for that T-shirt. Freeze your credit cards, pay them off and start using cash only – unless you are able to pay off credit cards in full every month.
  5. If you need a credit card, consider one with rewards benefits – If you absolutely need a credit card, choose one with big rewards. Pay the balance in full every month to reap the full reward benefits – otherwise the reward is not beneficial if you are paying interest.
  6. Upload/Download DVDs/digital copies to the cloud – Try Vudo/Ultraviolet to upload DVDs, digital copies to access movies on-the-go. Download/purchase movies online and store them in your cloud account, try Amazon Video.
  7. Share cloud files with family – Share your budget spreadsheet or contact list with your spouse.
  8. Write canned emails – Try the canned email feature in Gmail and save emails that you regularly send out with the same verbiage.

Take Time For Yourself

11.24.2016

0800

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As the holidays have come upon us here in the United States of America, this time of the year can be quite stressful. I thought I would make a list of ways I think everyone can or should try to take care of themselves, this includes physical and mental health. 

Since I already posted this as you are reading it now, I plan on spending the day in my stretchy pants. Stretchy pants are great for all occasions, today just happen to be a day where I eat when I’m starving and end up too full.

Have a great holiday everyone! Happy Thanksgiving! You should do the first seven items on the Physical Health list, except for #4, today may not be the best day to start on #4. (Unless you like food burps while working out) And if you do #1, you can knock off #3- see… multitasking—> Boom.

Physical Health:

  1. Take a nap – Schedule a power nap (or longer) when you can. A 15-minute nap will provide you with increased alertness and energy. Longer napping provides the same benefits but can make you feel relaxed and rejuvenated.
  2. Plan a R & R day at least once a month – Try to schedule at least 1 day every month for rest and relaxation. Try a Saturday all-day movie day at home or take off work on a Monday or Friday and have an extra-long weekend.
  3. Watch less TV – The average American watches 34 hours of TV a week – almost the same amount of time as a full time job! Try reading a book, going outside for a walk or playing a card/board game.
  4. Schedule your workouts – If you don’t add fitness to your daily routine, then you won’t be inclined to workout. Add working out to your calendar and set a reminder. Check out our post with 5 Easy Ways to Schedule Fitness into your Daily Routine for more help.
  5. Meditate – Meditating reduces aging, helps you feel more connected, improves brain function, increases immunity and metabolism and helps you sleep better.
  6. Do yoga or stretch throughout the day – Yoga provides increased flexibility, improved energy and vitality while assisting with cardio and circulatory health.
  7. Go for a walk – walking prevents high blood pressure, heart disease and type 2 diabetes while improving your mood.
  8. Watch the sunset or sunrise – Watching the sun rise or set will slow down time. It gets you away from digital devices, helps you appreciate life’s gifts and will inspire you.
  9. Carry a water bottle everywhere – Drinking plenty of water has many benefits including keeping you alert and energetic. Try these bottles and never worry about going thirsty again.
  10. Turn off your phone – Sometimes a break from the blinking light on your phone will serve well. If you want to focus on an important task, turn your phone off for less distraction.
  11. Unplug all devices – Unplug your TV, radio, computer, phones, etc. for a while to minimize distractions.
  12. Breathe – Remember to breathe.

Mental Health:

  1. Keep a gratitude journal – Writing in a gratitude journal lowers stress, gives you new perspectives and opens your eyes to what is most important in your life. Try this gratitude journal to get started.
  2. Try adult coloring books/pages – Print adult coloring pages for free online and take a break to color. You will be brought back to childhood memories and the activity is stress relieving. Don’t worry about staying in the lines.
  3. Learn to say “no” to events, get-togethers, hand-me-downs, etc. – It’s okay to say no in our already over-scheduled and busy lives.
  4. Set monthly goals – Start a monthly/yearly goal planning worksheet and refer back to it often.
  5. Listen to audio-books – Try Audible for Free for 30-days and refer to this post for how audible books can simplify your life.
  6. Turn off notifications from social media – Ever post a comment to a friend and then get notified with every comment thereafter? Remove notification on social media.
  7. Take a social media vacation – Unplugging from the Internet overload will simplify your life. Try a 1-week or longer social media vacation.
  8. Stop trying to impress people that you don’t like – Stop buying unnecessary items to show off and stop trying to “keep up with the Joneses.”
  9. Stop holding grudges – You will feel happier if you just let things go.
  10. Determine your definition of success – Success is defined in many different ways – how do you define success? Is it your “stuff” or is it your happiness?
  11. Stop trying to do it all – Don’t try to do everything on this list right away and stop trying to get everything done all at once. Take baby steps and you will reach your goals.
  12. Stop over-scheduling your life – Make sure you schedule time for yourself every day – whether it’s a relaxing activity like massage, bath, watching a movie or a fun activity like working out or hanging out with friends – stop over scheduling your life with a long to-do list.

My Mom

 

05.12.2016

0800

So this is blog post is going to be slightly different from my normal posts. In this post, I want to take some time to celebrate my mom.

My mom is a versatile woman, a woman of many strengths and many stories. She grew up in the in the 50’s and lived through the Vietnam War. By the time she had reached the young age of 23, she had established a well respected career as a flight attendant with Air Vietnam. During her young adult life, she also met my father (that story will be for another time). As a flight attendant, she got to travel around southeast asia and experience different cultures and met many people. She made her own money and enjoyed life tremendously.

I do give credit to my parents for being role models who always told me to grow up to make money. They never told me to grow up, get married and have kids. Perhaps they worried about my financial security, perhaps they simply didn’t want me to live paycheck to paycheck, but regardless, I did just that.

After my parents split, it was her strength that guided and paved the path of the following  years. She managed to balance being a single mom, staying sane and still taking care of two kids. I admire her strength and I hope that when I reach her age, I will still be as strong as her. To this day, when we sit and talk, I still enjoy hearing the stories of her childhood. As an adult, my relationship with her has become even closer and for that, I will forever be thankful. She has blessed me with my life and I’m so grateful that I get to spend one more day with her.

As children, we understand our parents are our leaders and rule makers. In adolescence, we test those rules to see where the boundaries lie. And as tenagers, we’re trying to figure out where we stand among the population of adults and our peers, yet we still test the boundaries between being deemed a child or an adult. As young adults, we’re still trying to get to that comfortable place to call ourselves an “official adult”, but we still seek guidance from our parents. Now as official adults, we can see the flaws in our decisions- and also theirs. Lastly, as adults, we can look at our parents as friends and maybe even peers. We can sit down and have a cordial conversation, with the understanding that where we sit now, is how our own children will view us as their leaders and their rule makers.

For a relationship between a parent and child to come full circle, is quite special to watch and be a part of. I value those conversations with my mom over dinner or in a phone call, because I know she still has many more stories to tell me, and I hope to hear each one of them.

SO HERE’S TO YOU MOM- HAPPY BIRTHDAY! May all your wishes come true, and know that when you look back on your life- you’ve accomplished so much and lived through so much more. I’m proud to call you my mom, and also my friend.

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Top 37 Things You’ll Regret When You’re Old

01.19.2016

0900

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So I found this article of “Those Top 37 Things You’ll Regret When You’re Old”, (here’s the link Top 37 Things You’ll Regret When You’re Old) and I thought I would audit the list. I separated the items I haven’t done from the items that I have done.

Items that DO NOT apply to me : (because I’ve already done it or I’m currently taking care of the issue) 

2. Not learning another language
  • You’ll kick yourself when you realize you took three years of language in high school and remember none of it. ===> I speak 3
3. Staying in a bad relationship.
  • No one who ever gets out of a bad relationship looks back without wishing they made the move sooner. ===> Get out when the first red flag goes up 
4. Forgoing sunscreen.
  • Wrinkles, moles, and skin cancer can largely be avoided if you protect yourself. ===> Wear it everyday
5. Missing the chance to see your favorite musicians.
  • “Nah, dude, I’ll catch Nirvana next time they come through town.” ==> So far so good
8. Letting yourself be defined by gender roles.
  • Few things are as sad as an old person saying, “Well, it just wasn’t done back then.” ===> Grew up a tomboy but now I love being a woman
9. Not quitting a terrible job.
  • Look, you gotta pay the bills. But if you don’t make a plan to improve your situation, you might wake up one day having spent 40 years in hell. ===> Get out while you can- or you’ll hate yourself later
10. Not trying harder in school.
  • It’s not just that your grades play a role in determining where you end up in life. Eventually you’ll realize how neat it was to get to spend all day learning, and wish you’d paid more attention. ===> I’ve achieved my education goals I set out
11. Not realizing how beautiful you were.
  • Too many of us spend our youth unhappy with the way we look, but the reality is, that’s when we’re our most beautiful. ===> I think I’m alright
12. Being afraid to say “I love you.”
  • When you’re old, you won’t care if your love wasn’t returned — only that you made it known how you felt. ===> Yep I’ve said this too 
13. Not listening to your parents’ advice.
  • You don’t want to hear it when you’re young, but the infuriating truth is that most of what your parents say about life is true. ===> I still go to them for advice
14. Spending your youth self-absorbed.
  • You’ll be embarrassed about it, frankly. ===> I always saw myself as the “funny” friend
15. Caring too much about what other people think.
  • In 20 years you won’t give a darn about any of those people you once worried so much about. ===> Never cared much of what people thought
16. Supporting others’ dreams over your own.
  • Supporting others is a beautiful thing, but not when it means you never get to shine. ===> I think everyone deserves a fan
17. Not moving on fast enough.
  • Old people look back at the long periods spent picking themselves off the ground as nothing but wasted time. ===> My personality bodes to constantly be working on projects  
18. Holding grudges, especially with those you love.
  • What’s the point of re-living the anger over and over? ===> You just have to accept people as they are, or you don’t deal with them at all. 
19. Not standing up for yourself.
  • Old people don’t take sh*t from anyone. Neither should you. ===> I’m solid on this one
22. Missing the chance to ask your grandparents questions before they die.
  • Most of us realize too late what an awesome resource grandparents are. They can explain everything you’ll ever wonder about where you came from, but only if you ask them in time. ===> They died before I was born so this was defaulted
23. Working too much.
  • No one looks back from their deathbed and wishes they spent more time at the office, but they do wish they spent more time with family, friends, and hobbies. ===> I’m too young to say that
25. Not stopping enough to appreciate the moment.
  • Young people are constantly on the go, but stopping to take it all in now and again is a good thing. ===> Do this every morning when I have my coffee
26. Failing to finish what you start.
  • Failing to finish what you start.“I had big dreams of becoming a nurse. I even signed up for the classes, but then…” ===> I’ve finished everything I set out to do, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have more future projects in mind
27. Never mastering one awesome party trick.
  • You will go to hundreds, if not thousands, of parties in your life. Wouldn’t it be cool to be the life of them all? ===> I can make a shot disappear 
28. Letting yourself be defined by cultural expectations.
  • Letting yourself be defined by cultural expectations.Don’t let them tell you, “We don’t do that.” ===> I never have
29. Refusing to let friendships run their course.
  • People grow apart. Clinging to what was, instead of acknowledging that things have changed, can be a source of ongoing agitation and sadness. ===> People grow up, they change and evolve
31. Never taking a big risk (especially in love).
  • Knowing that you took a leap of faith at least once — even if you fell flat on your face — will be a great comfort when you’re old. ===> If you’ve had your heart broken, you can check this off
32. Not taking the time to develop contacts and network.
  • Networking may seem like a bunch of crap when you’re young, but later on it becomes clear that it’s how so many jobs are won. ===> I have a great network
33. Worrying too much.
  • As Tom Petty sang, “Most things I worry about never happen anyway.” ===> I let go of what I cannot control
34. Getting caught up in needless drama.
  • Who needs it? ===> I’m too old for this one, and it’s a waste of time
36. Never performing in front of others.
  • This isn’t a regret for everyone, but many elderly people wish they knew — just once — what it was like to stand in front of a crowd and show off their talents. ===> Performed in choir from 10 years old to 18 years old
37. Not being grateful sooner.
  • It can be hard to see in the beginning, but eventually it becomes clear that every moment on this earth — from the mundane to the amazing — is a gift that we’re all so incredibly lucky to share. ===> I thankful that I’m able to wake up each day

Here is the list of Items that I HAVEN’T DONE and that I AM regretting> and I plan to change :

1. Not traveling when you had the chance.
  • Traveling becomes infinitely harder the older you get, especially if you have a family and need to pay the way for three-plus people instead of just yourself. ===> Need to do this more
6. Being scared to do things.
  • Looking back you’ll think, What was I so afraid of? ===> Taking steps right now to do so
7. Failing to make physical fitness a priority.
  • Too many of us spend the physical peak of our lives on the couch. When you hit 40, 50, 60, and beyond, you’ll dream of what you could have done. ===> Doing this now
20. Not volunteering enough.
  • OK, so you probably won’t regret not volunteering Hunger Games style, but nearing the end of one’s life without having helped to make the world a better place is a great source of sadness for many. ===> Need to volunteer more with the organizations I support
21. Neglecting your teeth.
  • Neglecting your teeth.Brush. Floss. Get regular checkups. It will all seem so maddeningly easy when you have dentures. ===> Need to go to the dentist too
24. Not learning how to cook one awesome meal.
  • Knowing one drool-worthy meal will make all those dinner parties and celebrations that much more special. ===> I want to make more than a few awesome meals
30. Not playing with your kids enough.
  • When you’re old, you’ll realize your kid went from wanting to play with you to wanting you out of their room in the blink of an eye. ===> Don’t have any… yet
35. Not spending enough time with loved ones.
  • Not spending enough time with loved ones.Our time with our loved ones is finite. Make it count. ===> Time with family/friends can never be enough

So I left some answers as to what I plan to accomplish soon. They’re basic answers, nothing written in stone or planned out clearly. These items are nothing new to my TO DO list and I plan to do them. The underlined items will be done sooner than later. The rest of the items will be done eventually 😉 Ok, ttyl!