Aspirations

Simple Living

Yearning for Simple Living

Have you ever noticed a shortened work week (returning from a holiday, vacation etc.) seems to feel more hectic and insane than the regular 5 day week? There is always too much to do and not enough time to do it. It has me thinking about simple living. I have been pondering ways to make my life slow down a bit from the furious pace that so many of us know all too well.

Simple Living

In my quest to simplify my life I have stumbled upon some good tips to reduce the hustle and bustle and hopefully get my life on a good balance. I hope these great ideas will inspire you to pursue a simple life as well.

Tips on how to live a simple life

Declutter your life….

Get rid of the things you do not need. It is easy to hang onto things simply because we think “I might need that later.” Most of the time, the things we hang onto are something we will never use. A cluttered home or workspace creates visual distractions and can actually make you feel like you do not have enough space to just breathe. Have a yard sale and make some pocket-money off of all of that stuff you have that is just lying around.

Put things in order around your home. If you keep things in order and tidy throughout the week you will be able to enjoy the weekend without having to waste time working around the house. A workspace that is in proper order will help you find things easier which is a good time saving technique and stress-busting measure.

Retail Therapy is more like retail addiction…..

I am sure you have probably heard girls (or guys) talk about needing some retail therapy. It is human nature to want stuff and many of us love to shop but is it really therapy? The answer to that question is no. Yes, we get this natural high off of zipping through the stores and exposing ourselves to all of the temptations that line the isles. It feels good (temporarily) to get some cool gadgets and nice new clothes. Before you even realize it, you are headed to your car with bags upon bags of goodies and a hefty charge on your credit card or a much leaner bank account.

Some of us do not even make it home before the guilt of overspending takes its hold and starts making us feel worse than how we felt in the first place so shopping is not therapy. When you actually need things you should shop and be picky with your spending but do not ever emotional shop. Going further in debt is not the way to simple living.

Give yourself plenty of time in the mornings…..

None of us like to rush around. Rushing creates stress which causes a chain reaction of bad things even before your day can get started. Wake up early enough in the mornings so that you have plenty of time to get ready for your day with peace of mind. Eat a healthy breakfast and get in a good routine. Enjoy some relaxing music while you get ready to tackle the day, or spend a little time practicing meditation to invoke calm feelings to get you going.

Go to bed at a descent hour so that you are able to get up earlier. It is always a good idea to remove yourself from busy distractions like TVs and electronics at least an hour before bedtime so that your mind can unwind and relax. Reading a good book before bed will help you relax so that you can get ample sleep.

Make time to spend with family and friends….

Many of us spend more time working and fulfilling commitments such as ball games, events we have signed up for and other duties in life than we dedicate ourselves to what matters the most and that is time spent with family and friends. If you need to slim down your schedule and turn down commitments in order to make the time for your personal life, then do it.

Time spent with those you love will simplify your life and bring things into perspective because it will force you to slow down and notice the most important aspects and help you understand what you are really working for.

Keep your schedule in check and do not over-commit…

Again, taking on too much responsibility and too many projects is a recipe for a hectic and stressful life. Talking about complications! Before you say yes to the next project take a look at your schedule and see if it will fit. If it does not fit, it is ok to say no. Remember a good healthy balance of work, fun, family and downtime is what will create a simple life.

Set time limits on how much time you spend on any certain commitment….

I am guilty of not doing this. I get in the middle of a project and keep working and before I know it I have spent the whole day on that one thing. Then I find myself overwhelmed with every other chore that is still demanding my attention. It may be a good idea to write out a schedule detailing what the daily schedule will be and how much time will be dedicated to each task.

Another trick that will help is to set an audible timer. Once that timer sounds, stop the task and reschedule it for another date if it is not finished. This may sound complicated but if you are guilty of mishandling your time, it will help get you in order.

You cannot multitask so stop trying….

Oftentimes we think of ourselves as super heroes and we can handle dozens of things at once. The truth is, our minds are only built to give our undivided attention to one thing at a time. If you think you are multitasking, what you are really doing is scattering your attention and thoughts from one thing to the next and so forth and are doing nothing more than losing any train of thought you had when you originally started.

Instead of getting several things accomplished as planned, you are getting nowhere and find yourself feeling overwhelmed. The best way to solve this problem is to take note of what you have to do for the day and set priority levels to each task. Do the higher priority tasks first and one by one work your way through the list. You will find you work more efficient this way, things actually get done faster and you do not experience the stress.

Make a budget and stick with it….

Everyone needs a budget and a plan on how to properly spend their money. I think money itself complicates life. We all know it takes money to survive and buy the things we need but the things we want is one of the ways a budget is blown and money gets out of hand (literally!) If you create a budget and follow it precisely, you will find yourself saving more money and simplifying your life.

It is important to save money for an emergency fund, set aside discretionary spending money and limit the amounts you spend. The less you swipe your debit or credit card the better off you are. It is easier to track your money if you pay for miscellaneous items with a cash allotment rather than with plastic.

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love yourself

5 Ways to Stop Worrying About What Others Think of You

If I were in a room with a large group of people and I asked how many of you are concerned about what other people think of you I bet the majority of the group would raise their hands with an astounding yes.  Why do we make it our mission to try to please others. How can we work on building self-confidence when we are so worried about what everyone thinks?

Could it be that we are raised in a society that teaches us the importance of how people view us? At an early age we are taught how to look a certain way for different types of functions and events that we attend and if you take time to sit back and notice, it is a fairly standard “dress and behavior code” across the board.

Building Self Confidence

We learn what is We learn considered politically correct, what appropriate mannerisms we should have, how to speak our opinions and beliefs with tact and what restrictions are placed upon us concerning our behaviors out in public. No wonder by the time we reach adulthood it is pretty commonplace to be a bit overly obsessed with what others think about us!

The problem is when we seek constant approval from others and are so preoccupied with how they view us; we lose focus on being ourselves and living as we are meant to live with our own passions, ideas and desires. How can we really live and achieve true happiness if we are only reacting in a robotic fashion to what society expects of us?

Here are a few ways to help you get back to living for you and stop worrying and obsessing over what others think which will help you with building self-confidence.

1. Ask yourself, in the general scheme of things does it really matter what they think of me?

I learned a long time ago regardless of how many times I bent over backwards, crawled in the mud and did everything I thought was necessary to portray a perfect image according to the standards of society and those around me I would still never be able to please everyone. Everyone is different and everyone has different viewpoints and interprets things in a different way.

Even if you feel you have chosen your words very carefully, the odds are that you will run up on someone who may find what you said offensive. Does it really matter when it comes down to your life in general? No. You should focus on how you see yourself and not what others think. Confidence and a good self-esteem are built on your own feelings of self-worth. Never be ashamed of doing the right thing and following what you feel is the right path rather than what is considered the trend or popular opinion.

2. Realize that being different and unique is an asset rather than a problem.

Think of it this way, who gets noticed in a sea of faces and how can you pick out one particular apple among a hundred?
Having a unique character is what makes us who we are. Oftentimes it is easy to try to mirror other people that we admire. We fall into the trap of envying another person’s lifestyle and what we think they are is who we want to be. If we think they live a picture perfect life (or what we consider to be perfect) it makes us desire to be like them even more.

Regardless of another person’s aspirations, successes and accomplishments, you need to just be you. We all have our own place in this world and our own goals to achieve. How would the world be interesting if we were all the same? Being unique and letting your true personality shine is one of the best ways to build self-confidence.

3. Live by your own truths and wisdom picked up along the way.

Even if you are scared to death, stay true to yourself. Speak what you know is true and do not offer falsehoods because you think it will satisfy others. There is no such thing as a white lie. In order to control your own destiny and not let others control you, sometimes you must speak your mind absent of fear and worry. Let whatever happens just happen.

Majority of the time you will see that it will open up doors of opportunity rather than shut you out. People admire others who stand up for themselves and voice words of honesty more than they look up to people who are considered fake because they live in fear and just follow the crowd.

4. Haven’t you heard opinions are like butt holes, being everyone has one?

Everyone has an opinion and some voice it much more than others but either way the opinion is still there at least in the form of a thought present in their minds. Whether their opinion of you is a pleasant one or one of loathing, remember it is their opinions and their problems not yours. The only opinion that should matter to you is how you think of yourself.

We are all guilty of judging another by how they look, speak or act not because those things are necessarily bad, but rather because it is different from us. Work on building a habit of being less judgmental and forming opinions of others and make it your goal not to worry about what others think of you.

5. Come to an understanding that people are more caught up in themselves than thinking about and over analyzing you anyway.

The truth is if anyone is forming an opinion as to what they think about you or are judging you, how long do you really think they are dedicating their time to this? Most likely not very long. Why veer off course of your goals on building self-confidence because you are too busy fretting over the judgment of others? People are more into themselves than worrying about keening a constant watchful eye on the lives of others.

Our fears of others constantly watching us and critiquing every step we take are simply nothing but fears. Our own insecurities and lack of confidence is what places us in this worrisome state. Focus more on building your self-confidence, staying on top of your goals regardless of what others think or say and working towards your own ideas and you will feel what it is like to be free.

what I wish I knew when I was 18

8 things I wish I knew when I was 18

Have you ever just wished you knew all you do now when you were 18 years old? I bet quite a few of us age 35 and older have had this thought cross our minds at least once. If only I could push the rewind button back into time with this long list of dos and don’ts how much better life could be or at least that is what we think often when we experience the inevitable challenges of being an adult.


thinking

So after pondering for a bit here is my list of 8 things I wish I knew when I was 18; some pieces of advice I would give to myself if I could go back in time:

1. Invest in yourself. Investing in yourself is all about what you know and how you take care of your body and use your time. Invest in your education, seek out every “free” piece of knowledge you can find to build upon what you have already learned. Learn time management skills because time wasted is money out the door. Invest time in taking care of your health, diet and body. Just because you are 18 it does not mean you should indulge in a bad diet. Trust me, as you age your poor diet habits will come back to haunt you in the form of health problems, expensive medical bills and worse yet possible disability and loss of income. If you start out early with an invested mindset to take good care of your body, you will minimize the likelihood of these issues.

2. What other people think of you is not the pivotal axis that makes your world go round. Youthful foolishness is part of the teen years and growing up but once you hit adulthood leave those childish years behind. Other people are going to state their opinions as long as they have the ability to speak. Remember, your ideas are important to you and that is what matters. Your dreams, your hopes and inspirations are the unique part of you and we are all unique. Unless you are trying to make a good first impression, put aside what other people think and take it as a grain of salt. Live each day with your goals in place and let the thoughts of your goals and the path it takes to reach them drown out the noise of opinions.

3. Mentally and emotionally prepare yourself to make many mistakes. We are only human and are going to make mistakes. Do not fear them. They are a natural part of life and help you to grow and learn. The biggest mistake that can be made is not moving forward with an idea or a goal due to fear of making a mistake. Do not let doubt control your destiny. You will never be sure your plan is going to work, but take that chance anyway. No matter how things turn out you will never learn what lies at the finishing line if you do not start the race. Use any mistakes made as a learning experience and not a reason to fear.

4. Focus on finding work that you love doing. Now this may be the surprising and hard part because we live in a world mostly focused on going after the degree and the jobs that lead to making the most money. Do not make a career choice based upon someone else’s ideas, goals or recommendations. You must choose something that fits your own interests and passion. You do not want to get stuck working in something you despise and that has happened to many people who inevitably can lead to stress, depression and a whole host of problems. It is better to do what you love and love what you do.

5. Often take time to seek out new opportunities or ideas. Do not get so comfortable in a certain area and afraid of what lies beyond that you do not explore possibilities outside of the four walls you are familiar with. New experiences are what makes our lives filled with happiness and purpose so do not shy away from a new opportunity.

6. Accept change. Learn to accept that things will always change and if a situation becomes bad, that to will change over time. It may not be easy but stay focused and things will get better. Do not waste time on worrying. Worrying never changed a situation.

7. Live a life of truth and honesty. A life built on honesty will build your character, integrity, trust from others and you will not have to carry the guilt monkey on your back which often times catches up with a person when they live a life of lies.

8. Do not expect people to know what you feel or think. They will not, unless you tell them. Learn to properly communicate what you think or feel with others. Do not always expect them to initiate the conversation that they do not know even needs to take place. Being transparent is a good way to keep from letting bothersome feelings pile up and it will build a good rapport with others.

How to Feel Successful When You have not achieved your Ultimate Goals

Get on Track and Learn How to Feel Successful. 

We all set goals or most of us do. I know we all have dreams. As a child we dream of what we want to be when we grow up. Our aspirations are as high as the stars. Somewhere between our carefree childlike world and the demands and obligations of adult life things veer off course. We obtain jobs, get married, have children and life just takes over. It is easy to feel like you are stuck in a little hamster wheel getting nowhere fast. Letting life run you rather than you running life will take its toll on how successful you feel as well as drain you physically and emotionally.

There are several key factors that will make all the difference in how successful you feel and your contentment with your position in life.

So you are not where you thought you would be at this stage in your life. This does not mean you have failed or that you are “less than”. You must change your way of thinking. It is all about your outlook and what you make up your mind to believe. If you believe you are a failure then you are a failure. If you believe you are successful you will see how much better you will feel about your life circumstances.
To be truly successful and happy doesn’t mean you don’t desire to seek more for your life in the future, it means you are sincerely thankful for what you have already accomplished and you plan to exercise patience for everything that is yet to come.

Practice the exercise of positive thinking…

When you wake in the mornings, do not focus on some negative aspect of your life. Focus on at least four things that are going well at this point. Keep a journal and write them down so that you can look back on them later. When you get ready to go to bed in the evening hours, make another journal entry reflecting at least three things that went well for you during that day.  Each day you practice this small exercise you will feel more in power and in control of your life and your destiny. You will also see that each daily success adds up and increases the likelihood of larger successes in the future.

Everyone is different and that is ok.

Continue with being the unique individual that you are. Have you ever heard of “keeping up with the Jones”? Well, if you have not heard that quote it simply means trying to keep up the pace with someone you are not. This is a huge problem with many people today. Instead of being the man in the mirror, they are trying to be the shadow following the other guy. Follow your own dreams in your pursuit of happiness. Everyone is different and all of us have a different place in life. Learn to accept you for who you are regardless of what anyone else thinks or feels. Yes, you will deal with negative influences and people who seem to suck the life right out of you. You need to rid yourself of these factors and surround yourself with positive influence. Always be an original and a one of a kind. Walk to the beat of your own drum because different kinds of music create the best melody.

How to achieve true happiness…

Have you ever just pondered what makes you happy? It is human nature to strive to find real contentment. Happiness can mean different things to many different people. Some of us think finding true love will make us happy, possibly more money will make us happy, or a high achieving career will make us happy. It seems like every time a goal is realized, that happiness we thought we would feel is elusive and we continue moving forward to the next big thing thinking it will make us happy.
The truth is things or people will not make you genuinely happy. People who are truly content change their daily routines into developed habits that create real happiness. Do you wonder what those “happy habits” are? Well stick around while I reveal the recipe for a happy life.

Take time for yourself.

These days we are so busy with obligations and activities that we do not take quality and relaxing time for ourselves. If we do not slow down, clear our minds and simply relax, we cannot find true happiness or experience any real enjoyment in life. Set aside time to do your favorite activities. Even a refreshing walk once a day helps reduce stress and increases a positive sense of mind.

Do not get involved in other people’s conflicts.

Do not cause conflicts and drama and do not tolerate other people causing problems. At one point or another, you will come across someone who thrives on causing agitation. It seems to be hardwired in their DNA. People who desire to live a happy and drama free lifestyle do not interact with the types of people who enjoy “stirring the pot”. Avoid these problem children or your contentment will be sucked in and spewed out into bundles of stress and frustrations. Surrounding yourself with positive things and people is the best way to ensure that your happiness will stay intact.

Do not take life so seriously.

Busy bodies run around frantically trying to achieve perfection. Like a horse with blinders, their view points are usually one-sided, straight ahead and poor-sighted at the very best. People who function at this level are taking life too seriously. They are usually the first to get stressed out, overwhelmed and sometimes even spiral out of control because they cannot be in control. Remember, nothing in this world is going to be perfect. You cannot achieve perfection because it does not exist on this planet. Learn to accept your own mistakes and learn from them however also keep in mind it is ok to make them. It is simply part of being human. Loosen up and go with the flow. Do not worry about tomorrow and what it holds. Live each day in the present moment that you are in and you will feel a tremendous weight lift from your shoulders. Never take on tasks and duties that you know you cannot handle and do not be afraid to ask for help when it is needed.

Accept what you have and your station in life.

Some people are rich, some people are poor and some people are teetering somewhere in the middle. We are all different. Regardless if you have all you could ever want or if you have just enough to get by, practice a mindset of thankfulness and acceptance. If you lack what you need or want, be thankful for what you do have at the present moment and set goals to work on achieving better things down the road. Always remember that tomorrow is a new day with new possibilities and blessings. Again, this is about focusing on positive thinking and goal setting.

Show compassion and give to others whenever able.

It seems to be human nature to feel good about yourself when you help others. No matter what religion people practice, you will see giving hearts spread across many different types of religious beliefs. Giving to others gives back to us a sense of feeling needed, feeling as if we accomplished something, and a sense of pride for doing a good deed. All of these things help boost the natural hormones that help us feel better about ourselves.

Spend quality time with family, friends and pets.

Make time for family, friends and even time to spend playing with your pet will make a world of difference when it comes to creating happiness. Set aside blocks of your schedule for these all important yet often neglected parts of our daily lives. Putting those you love and enjoy first before life demands will enhance your contentment and help you feel more secure.

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