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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Seeking Simplicity

02.07.2017

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I think people in general will seek a level of simplicity in their lives. I know I  strive for my own simplicity. This may boil down to simplifying a routine or a room in my home, or simply clearing my mind of clutter. It makes living and creating memories much easier to accomplish and it frees up my time for activities that I want to participate in, rather than feel obligated to do.  I honestly work at this each day. Due to the ever changing winds that we deal with in life, I constantly reevaluate my routines and make sure that I’m not taking on activities that I either don’t want to do or know that it will complicate my life in ways that are unnecessary.

Sometimes the clutter in our lives will come in, even for a short period of time. But let it only stay for a short period of time. I found this article from Apartment Therapy, who outlines steps to Seeking Simplicity very clearly. I hope you enjoy it.

Seeking Simplicity: How to Start Living a More Minimal Lifestyle (from Apartment Therapy)

  1. Give yourself a clear, personal goal (and a timeline)
    1. What is your personal definition of a more minimal home and life? Is it to have only the bare minimum of objects? Is it to declutter a whole room of stuff you haven’t looked at in months? Is it to learn to live with less or stop buying things you don’t need? There’s no “right” way to be a minimalist; we can all have our own definitions of simple and stress-free. Just take the time to define it for yourself. Not sure where to start defining what you don’t want in your life? Focus on what you do want — what makes you feel alive, what you’re passionate about — and then begin to strip away the things (physical and otherwise) that are getting in the way of you doing more of what you really want to be doing.
    2. Give yourself a clear goal, with broken-down steps to attain (and remember to write down the things you need to complete those steps). And then give yourself a time frame to achieve each step (not just the final goal). Consider making alerts on your calendar so you are held accountable. And don’t just write down what the goal is — write down why you want to live more minimally (less stress, more money, less stuff to haul on your next move — it can be anything that means something to you).
  2. Decide how your home can help you live a more minimalist lifestyle
    1. Your quest for a more minimal lifestyle might point you in the direction of a smaller or simplified home. This is a big step for folks who own or rent homes, but not impossible. Again, start with a goal of what you want — be specific. Not sure what you want? Do some traveling — and look to stay in homes in the size range you’re thinking about. You’ll be able to visualize your future life easier if it’s a size you can downsize to. Or perhaps the size and type of your home is okay but it’s what’s in it…
  3. Declutter
    1. This seems pretty obvious, but it can be the most painful step for folks who have a real attachment to many of their items. Start slow and intentionally. Throw out or donate everything you obviously don’t need first. Then take and hide everything you think you could do without for a few months, to give yourself distance to be able to give them away. Then use that motivation to gather the courage to take decluttering as extreme as works for your dream, minimal lifestyle. Keep reminding yourself that stripping away as much stuff from your life will make it easier to achieve a more simple life and allow you to have more freedom. You don’t have to only live with a bed and a laptop; again, you get to decide what living more minimally means to you.
  4. Train yourself to live with less
    1. If you’ve been used to creature comforts for a long time, you might not be ready to take a minimal plunge all at once. Consider having comfort-free weekends or months, slowly eliminating comforts and luxuries (even as simple as pricey haircuts or weekly movie dates) and seeing what feels okay to lose, and what things are too valuable to your happiness to give up.
  5. Ask yourself “do I really need this?” all the time
    1. Before you swipe your credit card, ask yourself “Do I really need this?” And ask yourself all the time. At first you may easily justify purchases out of habit, but as the question sinks in, you might find yourself realizing you don’t need many of the items you impulsively buy.
  6. Be a re-user
    1. Another great habit to explore on the path to a more minimal way of living is learning to be a great re-user. Save packaging to reuse for other things. Learn to repair and fix things rather than replace. Use old clothing for scrap fabric for DIY projects. Be open to being creative to find ways you can reuse something you already have rather than buy something new.
  7. Invest in high-quality
    1. When you do have (or want) to buy something new, splurge on high-quality items that are meaningful for you. Remember that it might be nicer to have a sparse home filled with dreamy designs you adore versus full of things you just sort of like. But also remember that, again, you define what minimal means.
  8. Be clear about why you want to be more minimal (and remind yourself often)
    1. Go back to the first step above regularly, especially when things get tough, so you can remember why you’re trying to live more minimally in the first place.
  9. Forgive yourself and keep trying
    1. As someone who has given away everything they owned one and a half times now, I can assure you, we manage to acquire stuff at impressive speeds. And also sign up for a lot of work obligations, too. This is just human nature. But don’t give up on your quest to simplicity if you wake up one day and notice you’ve let a lot of unneeded stuff clutter up your home or schedule. Just start over at the top, breathe in, and keep trying.

Websites and Resources List

01.10.2017

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So I was asked awhile back to list some resources that I use, so here they are:

Issues dealing with everyday life and the earth:

  1. Earth 911 – http://earth911.com/
  2. Life Hack – http://www.lifehack.org/

Zero waste issue dealing with the home:

  1. The Zero Waste Home – http://www.zerowastehome.com/
  2. Trash Is For Tossers – http://www.trashisfortossers.com/
  3. Eco-Cycle- http://www.ecocycle.org/zerowaste
  4. Going Zero Waste- https://www.goingzerowaste.com/

Minimalist Articles and websites:

  1. The Minimalists – http://www.theminimalists.com/
  2. Becoming Minimalist – http://www.becomingminimalist.com/

Social Media in general:

  1. Other WordPress blogs about zero waste living and minimalist lifestyles: If you just do a simple search, then you’ll be able to find keywords regarding blogs you’ll be interested in
  2. Twitter: Simple word search
  3. Instagram: Simple word search
  4. Reddit: ZeroWaste Sub

So those are just some of my resources- Hopefully they will be able to help you out.

Keep Life Simple

11.29.2016

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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.

Healthy Life

01.24.2016

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To live a healthy life means you must make healthy decisions, take healthy actions and utilizing those decisions each day. This means, leaving toxic relationships behind, accepting what you cannot change and what you can change, and really figuring out what makes you happy. There’s a lot of “noise” in this world that can get in the way of happiness. Sometimes it flies under the radar, from negative comments you may receive or negative friends or just being unhappy in the current state.

I like plans and lists. Yep, I’m THAT type. Whenever I need to create a better situation for myself- I break it out into a list. From the list of items I need to do, and the next steps of utilizing those actions, I usually find my way out of the situation. I also like to cross items off of my checklist, there’s a level of satisfaction that moment brings. My priorities and obligations come first on my lists, so I never stray away from those. There’s also a line between what I want verses what I need, and the time it takes for those items to come to fruition. For those who are impatient, we like/want that immediate  gratification, but that rarely happens. We hang our happiness level on that gratification as well- which can make us suspended in limbo for awhile, that uncomfortable limbo.

Be happy and comfortable with the unknown, it makes life easier to deal with. Life is an adventure. I am the type who is more comfortable to know what lies ahead, but in the past 6 years, I’ve accepted that knowledge of the future is best left unknown. I control what I can, and leave the rest up to time and destiny. Mentally, this puts me at ease. I can control how healthy I decide I want to be, who I want to interact with in my life and where I want my life to go. This life includes everything I do under my roof and outside in the existing world. My definition of a healthy life is just that.

Everyone’s’ definition of “Healthy life” will be different, and I think that’s great. Healthy is relative to a certain degree. As long as you are happy, nothing else else really matters- except your priorities. So limit the noise, accept what you can change and let go of what you cannot, take time to examine yourself and who you want to be in this life- and then just do it.

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

01.19.2016

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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!