Monthly Archives: April 2016

“A” through “M” of Better Choices

                                                                                                   I've written a blog for each letter of the alphabet up to "M" so far about evolving your life into a more creative, focused and fun way of living. And honestly, I don't put all of the suggestions to use every day, but the ones that I have consistently put to use have given me a better outlook, more satisfaction from what I can do in a day and have improved my habits. Read over my brief summaries of each blog here, and see which ones you can gain from.

A – M Highlights of the ABC Blog Series of #BetterChoices2016

A is for Accepting our existence which equals owning our burdens but not staying focused on the derailment that they cause us. Focus on and create positives in your life to offset the negative; start a hobby, call a good friend, plan something unexpected, begin a new tradition.

B is for Be You: Throw away worry (it's only your imagination, after all) so that you can stop squashing the positive thoughts waiting to happen.

C is for Create: We were created to create. The baby won’t go to sleep? Someone created the baby swing. Stuff too heavy to carry? The wheel, wheel-barrows and strollers were invented. It rains? Someone created the umbrella. Problems were fixed because one person chose to go one step further beyond being annoyed. They created a better way.

D is for Do: “Doing” leads to discovery.  We’ve mastered so many things in our life, but continuing to master new things leads us towards a constant renewal and far away from boredom and monotony.

E is for Eat/Exercise: We have something in common with SpongeBob Square Pants besides three names. We are sponges. Our body and organs absorb toxins from food and the environment. When we do strenuous activities like exercise and yoga, the movements squish those toxins out. (Rinse with waterwaterwater.) Exercise every day to keep your body and blood circulating. As for eating? Pretend that you are what you eat, because you are. Be green, strong, healthy and toxin-free.

F is for Free to Choose: The way your day will go is based on what choices you make as it progresses. Even if you are having the kind of day that you’d much rather be doing something else, but can’t, you get to choose the way you will experience it. You don’t have to wait and see how it will end, or let it end the same way that it always does. You're allowed to change it.

G is for Grit: An oyster can’t spit out his gritty grain of sand, which is really good news because it will eventually turn into a pearl. Don’t spit out your own grit. Begin the long process of turning it into something more beautiful than what it began as. Recognize the beauty that it adds to your life, not just the interruption that it makes.

H is for Higher: Don’t get stuck on the same step as your challenges. Go higher than the challenge to see what else is there waiting for you while you deal with it.
 
I is for Intelligence Preservation: Being open to new experiences has been proven to preserve fluid intelligence. Do things differently than how you’ve always done them. Keeping rejuvenation a part of our being is good for us.

J is for Just Dance: “Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly.” -G. K. Chesterton   
Don’t take yourself or life too seriously. Use laughter as medicine. Increase dosage as needed.

K is for Kick the Crap to the Curb: Keep a Promise Journal. Each morning, write down what promises you are making to yourself that day that will keep you far away from “crap-traps” like the wrong food and bad habits.

L is for Look for the Lesson: When you are having a conversation with yourself about whatever mess or challenge you are dealing with, stop and ask yourself, “what is the lesson I’m supposed to learn here.” There’s always a lesson and there’s always a silver lining.

M is for Make Memories Last: Create a Memory jar (Memory Jar Guide here) or document special moments by writing one sentence down at the end of every day about it and the date that it happened. When the end of the year comes, you can read and relive each moment.

When you wake up each day, remind yourself of the great day ahead and plan how you will make it great. Ask yourself early in the day what it is that will make the day great, and go do it. 

See you next time with "N." Right now it stands for Not sure what it will be about, but that's just me. If you want to read the previous blogs in full, they are below. And please share me with others if you think they could use a jumpstart to creating a life they love. 

Make Better Choices Today 2016 ~               xo Katherine

Katherine is doing an ABC Blog Series for #BetterChoices2016 in order to make 2016 your best year yet. Follow her blog at www.backtobeingawoman.com or get the blogs as soon as they are sent out by signing up for her newsletters.

Find previous ABC Blogs here.

  

“M” is for Eight (8) Ways to Make Memories Last

"M" is for Eight (8) Ways to Make Memories Last

Memory is a way of holding on to the things you love, the things you are, and the things you never want to lose.  -Kevin Arnold

 
Laundry is boring, but I do it over and over again. Most of the time you can find me doing it on the weekends with earphones on and my favorite music playing in my head. When I’m old and gray, I will probably look back on the memory of laundry, not as dull and monotonous, but as entertaining because of my music. I think making memories last will come easier if we tie fun into them.
 
I didn’t take anywhere near enough photos of my kids as they grew. I took many shots of my son while living special moments with him. With my daughter, I wanted to suck them up in a different way, by just being and watching instead of jumping up and getting my camera each time she did something that I wanted to remember. Then came phones with cameras. Now I take candid photos often and store them away for a glimpse any time I want. They are always there staring back at me and reminding me of the moments.
 
As time passes, things become less important, and memories become more vital and endearing.

Here are eight (8) ways to make them last:

  1.  Journal. I say this often for lots of reasons in many of my blogs. Journaling brings you closer to feeling the memories, reliving them, and embedding them further into memory. Even if you don’t like to write, (even I don’t like to take the time needed to journal daily), write a paragraph or two every couple of days of special things that happened. Writing them down stores them so that you can go back to them again and again. 

 

  1. Document. If journaling isn’t for you, have a notebook at your bedside and write one sentence at the end of each day documenting your favorite moment of the day. They may not be dramatic or exciting moments, but to sift through your day for “good” things is a healthy practice before bed and a double benefit to store it away to be remembered again.

 
 

  1. Photos: Whenever my family and I have a get-together or outings, we are so engaged in each other that we often forget to take photos. Such a waste! Take photos, even just a few. If you are tired of the same posing, boring, say-cheese shots, make it interesting. At our last dinner out with my sisters, I took a picture of my birthday sister through my wine glass. Double loves; wine and my sis together in one.

 

  1. Photo Story. I have a super young-at-heart aunt who is dealing with dementia, but we still get visits from her and my uncle once a year, but less and less because trips are becoming more difficult for her. During one of her last visits, I took her to the botanical gardens and used my phone to take countless photos of her genuine smile and silly poses that she is famous for. We went right to the drugstore afterwards to develop and print out our photos so that I could share them with my uncle, remember the day, and so that she’d have a souvenir of a day she might not remember. It was a special day for me to have her all to myself and enjoy her humor and wit that she never loses, even after losing some of her memory.

 
 

  1. Memory jar. Even if you don’t do this every single day, keep the jar out for all to see and be reminded of with a pen and plenty of pretty slips of paper to write on. Encourage everyone to add to this jar regularly, including guests when they visit. When the end of the year comes, you get to relive each moment together by reading them out loud.

 

  1. Talk about special moments. Even if you don’t write them down, discuss the best part of your day with family (vs. the failures, the bumps, the problems) to remember them longer. Reiterating them and talking about them will embed them into memory better than not discussing them at all.

 
 

  1. This one’s hard for me. I really love to shop. Retail therapy really does work for me, but I’ve found creating experiences is a better choice and place for my money. I may or may not remember the excitement of finding a great bargain, but doing something fun either by myself or with family and friends is the memory I will keep longer.

 

  1. A road trip, even if it’s just to the next town for the day. Think of a place that you have wanted to see, or haven’t seen for a while and just go. Take lots of photos. Start a road trip journal (there’s that word journal again).

 
Do more of the things that you love, and keep doing them. For me, that doesn’t include laundry, but the music is what I love. Jot down (in your journal, if you must) things that you love to do. Start checking them off one week at a time. Make sure that you plan a life of creating memories for your heart.

Make Better Choices Today 2016 ~               xo Katherine

Katherine is doing an ABC Blog Series for #BetterChoices2016 in order to make 2016 your best year yet. Follow her blog at www.backtobeingawoman.com or get the blogs as soon as they are sent out by signing up for her newsletters.

Find previous ABC Blogs here.

“L” is for Look for the Lesson

"L" is for Look for the Lesson - In anything and everything

PosterLlessons

I'm almost half way through the alphabet already. I'm going to miss doing the ABC Blog Series when I hit Z. And yes, I have an idea for Z already, but I'm not anxious to get there.

Meanwhile, "L" is for look for the lesson, or for lemonade made from lemons, or for Life Lessons, because lessons are what life is made up of – served one right after another.

Lessons never lessen.

I came across another saying the other day and it said,
 

Fall down seven times - get up eight.

 

I wish it was that easy. Some things can really knock you down. But sometimes staying down is the best answer because you have to send your roots further into the ground first before your next bloom happens. I’m couch bound when I’m down. When I was younger, I’d clean my house with the force of a cyclone, but not anymore. Now I just rest and bleed and whimper until I’m finished resting and bleeding and whimpering.
So what else do we do when we’re down? We talk to ourselves in our head, incessantly. We can’t believe we are dealing with this stuff in our life, or we want it to just go away, or we feel sorry for ourselves. But what we say to ourselves while we are down is what’s going to direct us upwards so that we’ll bloom, or it could be what keeps us down in the dirt longer, all depending on how we talk to ourselves. Literally, good conversation should be happening in our heads as if between two people - two very close, supportive friends.

 

When you hit those lessons, how would you tell a good friend to get through them? When we don’t focus on the crappy happenstance of it all and instead concentrate on the hidden lesson, we will recognize the lesson quicker and then move through the happenstance quicker, too.
I’m all for having the “life sucks” conversation first, to get it out of our system, but when the dust settles and you can’t cry/complain/moan one more minute, that’s when you start the conversation with your “good friend.” Ask her what she would do in your shoes. Ask her why she thinks you have to deal with the mess. And ask her what silver lining could there possibly be in it. And she’ll answer every single one of your questions intelligently and with compassion. Because she’s been there, too.

Make Better Choices Today 2016 ~               xo Katherine

When you're feeling low on energy or under the weather, I have a Mushroom Soup recipe that is perfect and simple, here.

Katherine is doing an ABC Blog Series for #BetterChoices2016 in order to make 2016 your best year yet. Follow her blog at www.backtobeingawoman.com or get the blogs as soon as they are sent out by signing up for her newsletters.
Find previous ABC Blogs here.

 

“K” is for Five (5) Ways to Kick the Crap to the Curb

"K" is for Five (5) Ways to Kick the Crap to the Curb!

This is a fun one for me. I’m a clutter bug at heart and it drives me crazy. If my head and home are cluttered, I can't think straight and my focus is way off, but I’ve improved my odds against it over the course of the past year by becoming more organized and also by redirecting my focus towards things that I love to do.

I admire friends that get rid of things easily. I tend to focus more on the sentiment of an item and look for reasons to keep it. It’s a constant battle that I’m slowly winning.Letting go isn’t a bad thing! should be my daily mantra.

PosterCrap

Last summer I wrote #Live Simply #Live Elegantly Your Life Journal, while living it. Its purpose is to clear out the clutter in countless ways, but mostly to clear the clutter out of your head in order to think more clearly and become more focused. And clearing out the clutter in my house began the process, so I wrote about it and successfully accomplished what I set out to do; clear the clutter – have more focus – concentrate more on the things that I love doing.

These five (5) things will help you Kick the Crap to the Curb. They are simple ideas to help you begin disposing of things in your life that weigh you down, hold you back and distract you. “Crap” to me can mean “stuff” that I hold on to, but it can also mean the food that I keep in my cupboards that steals my focus and clogs my brain.

  1. Set a timer for 30 minutes and begin cleaning out your pantry. Keep in mind there’s lots of processed foods in most people’s pantries. Those kinds of foods not only clog up your arteries but also your brain. Get rid of the crap. If you finish before the time is up, move on to your refrigerator.
  2. Set your timer for 30 minutes again. Whichever room you spend the most time in, walk around and remove anything that you don’t love or aren’t attached to. Remove anything that doesn’t belong there, such as out of place items. I’m really bad about having a catch-all space in most of the rooms in my house, especially the kitchen. I have to stop and purge at least once a week. Decide how that room would inspire a more peaceful feeling for you and how you can implement the changes. Creating peace/removing crap = a more focused mind.
  3. Keep a Promise Journal. Each morning, write down what promises you are making to yourself that day that will keep you far away from “crap.” Eat at a healthier restaurant for lunch, skip the chips, or take a walk instead of a run to Starbucks. You know your day better than anyone and how it might go. Plan to avoid the crap-traps.
  4. Write down in that same journal, five (5) things that you will do when you get weak. If you normally reach for ice-cream (like me) in the evenings, write down other activities you will do instead; play a game on your phone, browse funny videos, write those long delayed thank you cards, or go to bed early to avoid the temptation all together. Stack success in your favor by being prepared.
  5. Think about what’s fun to do and do more of it. Boredom invites all kinds of crap. Being busy and having fun invites better choices and more options.

Often times I feel like I live in my car, driving my daughter to school, to and from dance, errands, grocery shopping, and everything in between. My car is messy by the end of the week. When I clear my car of crap, it lightens my load and allows me to focus on more positive and inviting thoughts.

Whatever crap you can think of, think of how you can dispose of it from your life. Once you make it a habit, it will allow you to live more freely and more focused.

Get more serious about getting rid of the clutter everywhere. Check out my book on Amazon.

Katherine is doing an ABC Blog Series for #BetterChoices2016 in order to make 2016 your best year yet. Follow her blog at www.backtobeingawoman.com or get the blogs as soon as they are sent out by signing up for her newsletters.

April's Lunch Box Jokes are here! Print them out and put them in your kids lunch boxes for a fit of the giggles.

Make Better Choices Today 2016 ~               xo Katherine

Find previous ABC Blogs here.