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Archive for February, 2011

Today is the last day of the second month of my Happiness Project for 2011.

To recap, I chose to focus on Physical Energy. My resolutions for the month were to:

  • Get 8 hours of sleep each night
  • Sleep better
  • Act energetic
  • Walk 10,000 steps/day
  • Minimum 30 minutes of yoga 5 days/week
  • Don’t turn down opportunities to exercise
  • Remind myself of the benefits of exercising – I always feel better after exercising
  • Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good
  • Don’t let myself off the hook

8 Hours of Sleep

I totally rocked the early bedtime resolution! Out of the 28 days in February, there were only two nights that I wasn’t in bed in time to meet my 8 hour goal. I am definitely not a night owl so “forcing” myself to bed before 9pm was my pleasure!

Sleep Better

Although I am in bed early each night, my sleep habits haven’t improved as much as I’d like. Because I have skipped all my favourite dramatic TV shows before bed, I have been falling asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow, which is fantastic, but for some unknown reason, I am still waking up a ton throughout the night.

The natural methods I have investigated to relieve the symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome have not helped much. I’m still unsure if it is even my restless legs that are waking me up though. I just seem to wake up numerous times throughout the night, usually feeling wide awake (my legs are not bothering me when I wake up though). I’m really not sure what I can do about this….

Act Energetic

I really can’t say whether acting energetic made me feel more energetic or if I was only able to act that way because I already felt that way. All I know is that if I wasn’t feeling very energetic, it was really, really hard to fake it. There were a few days when I felt completely exhausted, and as much as I told myself to act energetic, I just felt too darn tired to do it. Most days I was able to act pretty energetic though and I’ve mostly quit talking about how tired I am all the time.

Walk 10,000 Steps Every Day

Thanks to my new treadmill I was successful at reaching my 10,000 steps every single day!!!

When I first made this goal, I honestly thought 10,000 steps would be easy to reach. After a few days, I realized that I was lucky if I had even reached half my goal by the time I got home from work. This is where my sweet treadmill came in very handy! Every day, as soon as I got home from work, I would walk for an hour on my treadmill. That extra hour would give me between 6200 and 7400 steps, depending on the speed, so I was always able to cross that 10,000 mark.

Since I now have a good idea of how many steps I do in a day, I am going to ditch the pedometer. It’s kind of annoying having it pinned to my pants each day, plus it’s not the best fashion accessory. In the coming months, instead of vowing to reach 10,000 steps daily (since I will no longer be able to accurately measure it), I will commit to walk for one hour on my treadmill each and every day.

Yoga 5 Times/Week

To my surprise, I actually stuck with my yoga resolution for the first two weeks and then it backfired. Five times per week was just too much! I found that I was starting to really dread doing my yoga video and was just doing a half-assed job before bed just to get my checkmark in for the day. I really hate forcing myself to do it; I should do it because I want to do it. I used to really enjoy yoga but I feel like I have overdone it now and am starting to dislike it (which really defeats the whole purpose of this happiness project).

Many experts recommend starting with very small goals and resolutions, to make it easier to stick with, but for me, I tend to like big goals. The bigger the goal, the more important it must be and the more likely I will stick with it. This has worked well for my other resolutions, but for yoga, it totally failed. To continue with my practice, I need to find the love again, and forcing myself to only do it for a checkmark is not the way to go. I need to fully embrace the benefits of it, and do it when I feel like I really want to do it. For the upcoming months I am only going to do it 1-3 times/week and if I don’t feel like doing it, I won’t. I hope that with this reduced regime I will again enjoy the time I spend on my little pink yoga mat.

Don’t Turn Down Opportunities to Exercise

I was slightly disappointed with this goal as I really didn’t have many opportunities during the month of February. This is one resolution I will have to keep in the back of my head though and bring it out whenever the opportunity presents itself in the future.

Remind Myself of the Benefits of Exercising

I think I did a good job of this. Even if I wasn’t actually listing the specific benefits to myself, I still told myself to just do it (excluding yoga of course).

Don’t Let the Perfect Be the Enemy of the Good

I actually followed this goal every day which was kind of a surprise to me. I am usually the girl who pushes myself to the extreme and always tries to out-do myself but I managed to just slow down, let go of the perfectionism and give myself a break. When doing yoga, I wouldn’t kill myself by trying to go beyond my ability into all the advance poses I used to do, I just took it slow and stuck to the poses the beginner instructor suggested. When walking on my treadmill, I would generally try to go at the faster speeds but if I was feeling a little tired, or had a tough day, I would just slow it down and enjoy the walk.

Don’t Let Myself off the Hook

This one is a tricky resolution because if I bailed out on any of the other goals, I would automatically lose out on this one too. So those tiresome days when I didn’t act energetic, I was letting myself off the hook. Or when I gave up the yoga goal, I definitely considered that letting myself off the hook. I certainly didn’t put on my pajamas and curl up on the couch instead of walking on my treadmill though so I guess I didn’t do too badly after all.

I found February’s goals much easier to stick to than January’s and I think a big reason is because these were mostly daily resolutions instead of general month long resolutions. If I had the whole month to finish a goal (i.e.: clean my closet) I was likely to procrastinate until the end, but if I had to meet my goal each and every day (i.e.: 10,000 steps), I could not put it off; I had to do it right away. This was a big factor in sticking to my goals.

I am, without a doubt, feeling more energetic from these resolutions and feeling more energetic certainly makes me feel happier! There are still days when I don’t feel very full of life and I’d rather crawl back into bed, but more days than not, I have that wonderful bounce back in my step. 🙂

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A Must See!

Please check out this wonderful, inspiring video. I hope it lifts your spirits just a little bit higher today. 🙂

A big thanks to my friend Jen for sharing this with me!!!

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“Unhappiness is the hunger to get; happiness is the hunger to give… If the individual should set out for a single day to give happiness, to make life happier, brighter and sweeter, not for himself but for others, he would find a wondrous revelation of what happiness really is.” ~ William George Jordan

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Today I’d like to talk about all those extra excited, adorable-faced, tail-wagging dogs we all love so much.

Extra Happy Dogs

Some of you may get annoyed when a big furry dog is all up in your face, especially if you are dressed for a night out in your best clothes, but I couldn’t be happier when I see that wagging tail. Those sparkling little eyes catch you looking at them from across the room and then it’s on! They scurry their hyper little legs across the short distance between the two of you and they are jumping all over you in an instant! Their tail is wagging so much that it might just leave a bruise if it hits you. If you are really lucky, they might get so excited that not only their tails wag, but their whole butt wiggles back and forth. Their big sloppy tongue is covering your face in seconds and they give you that adorable “dog smile” with their lips wide open and droopy tongue dripping dog slobber all over your pants. It’s messy, it’s destructive, and sometimes it’s even a little terrifying when they come running at full speed, but there aren’t many things better in this world than the unconditional love you feel. When you see those sweet brown eyes staring back at you, and you hear the old familiar “thump-thump-thump” of the tail on the floor, you can’t help but plaster a big fat smile across your dog-loving face.

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It just recently dawned on me that I’m only a year and a half away from my 30th birthday and I feel like time is running out fast for me to do everything I want to do with my life. This got me thinking about how my life has progressed so far and all of the lessons I have learned along the way. I’ve come to realize that my 20’s have taught me a lot about life and I’d like to share some of these lessons with the simple hope that you might take some time to think about all the lessons you have learned too.

  1. Whenever you catch yourself smiling, pay attention! You are doing something right. Capture that moment and make that activity/feeling/thought a priority in your life.
  2. A job where someone pays you to do nothing is not awesome, it’s boring.
  3. Your health is the most important thing in the world (that includes your emotional health too). Take care of yourself!
  4. Motivation does not last. When you feel it, act on it immediately.
  5. People deserve a second chance, but not a third.
  6. Communication is the most important thing in any relationship. Without good communication, everything else will be lost.
  7. It’s not so much what you say that counts, it’s how you make people feel. Listen more than you talk and offer to help whenever you can.
  8. Doing something nice for someone you dislike will actually make you like them more. You cannot be compassionate and angry at the same time.
  9. What’s fun for other people may not be fun for you, and vice versa.
  10. Act like a child whenever you can. The majority of our most enjoyable moments happen when we stop thinking and we just have fun.
  11. The biggest mistake you can make is by doing nothing because you’re scared to make a mistake.
  12. There’s a big difference between knowing and actually doing.  Knowledge is essentially useless without action. You must employ both to succeed in life.
  13. By doing a little bit each day, you can get a lot accomplished.
  14. Having a thousand credentials on the wall will not make you a decent human being. 
  15. If you never take the chance, you will never know where you could have ended up.
  16. People are not mind readers. Tell them what you are thinking.
  17. One of the easiest ways to make yourself happy is to make someone else happy.
  18. What you do every day matters more than what you do once in awhile.
  19. Dress warmer than you think you should.
  20. You choose how to interpret someone else’s words and actions, assume the best in people.
  21. It’s hard to stay angry if you’re petting the dog.
  22. People who talk about others behind their backs will also talk about you behind yours.
  23. Men think differently than woman.
  24. If you find yourself rationalizing a choice, it’s probably not a good one. Breathe, remind yourself of your personal values, and reconsider.
  25. Putting off unpleasant tasks only makes you more stressed.
  26. When you feel sick, stop pushing yourself and just go home and rest.
  27. Messy areas tend to stay messy, and tidy areas tend to stay tidy.
  28. A $750 dollar duvet is worth every penny.

What life lessons have you learned? What great knowledge would you like to share with the world?

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I came across this wonderful post on Marc and Angel Hack Life.

Marc and Angel have provided 52 stress reduction mantras you can use each week for an entire year. They suggest choosing one mantra each Monday morning and focusing on it for the rest of the week.

Here are my favourites from the list.

  1. Everything I do is by choice. There is always another option.
  2. I will not try to please everyone. I will simply do what I know is right.
  3. I will slow down and become conscious of life’s simple pleasures.
  4. We are all weird in our own way. This makes life beautiful.
  5. Everyone has a story. There’s a reason why people are the way they are. I will appreciate them just the way they are.
  6. The biggest mistake I can make is doing nothing because I’m scared to make a mistake.
  7. I will let go of things I can’t change and instead concentrate on things I can.
  8. Today is a new beginning – a chance for me to do something extraordinary.
  9. There are thousands of little things that just aren’t worth fighting for – I will let them go. I will choose my battles wisely.
  10. I will stay out of other people’s drama and not needlessly create my own.

Click here to view the other 42 mantras.

To make these even more fun, I suggest printing them off, cutting them out individually, folding them up into little squares then sticking them all in a little bowl or cup. Each Monday morning, choose a mantra from the bowl, pin it up in your office, memorize it and choose to start your week off on a positive note. 🙂

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Kindness to Others

It’s time for another round of Kindness Ideas!

Let’s get out there and share some love! The world could definitely use a little more kindness. 😀

Here are a few more suggestions to get you started…

Kindness to Others

  • When shopping, buy a couple extra non-perishable food items and take them to a food drive or pantry (most grocery stores even have a bin right at the front of the store to drop off these items).
  • After loading your groceries into the car, return your shopping cart or give it to someone on their way into the store.
  • Stop to help someone on the side of the road with car trouble.
  • Purchase a book about kindness, put a “have a great day” note inside, and pass it on.
  • Select some people in your life who you feel need a special lift and send them a gift: flowers, tickets to a special event, or a gift certificate.
  • Appreciate a community worker.
  • Organize a clothing drive for a shelter.
  • Collaborate with friends to bake cakes and pies, and deliver them to a soup kitchen.
  • Collect personal care items and new underwear and socks for homeless shelters and safe houses.
  • Buy books for a day care or school.
  • Donate your professional clothes to an organization that helps people get back into the workforce.
  • Give gently worn home furnishings or household appliances to a person or family who might need them or donate them to an organization.
  • Take warm clothes, blankets or food to a homeless person that you often cross paths with.
  • Donate toys and books to a homeless organization. Toys and books are just as important to kids as food and shelter.
  • Make an extra serving of dinner and bring it to a homeless person in your neighborhood.

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