Worry Less and Do More. What Can You Accomplish Today?

Worry Less and Do More. What Can You Accomplish Today?

You only have so much time and energy to spend each day. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to exhaust your resources on anything that you can’t influence. Worrying about the rain won’t make it stop. Being annoyed by the fact that you’re only 5’ 2” tall isn’t going to cause you to grow.

However, we spend much of our time and energy in negative emotional states over issues that are beyond our control.

Most of the negative thoughts you have each day are analogous to being upset over the weather. There’s simply nothing you can do about it. You’re only upsetting yourself needlessly.

There are really only two things you can control:

  1. Your actions
  2. Your thoughts

The time you spend “doing” and “thinking” is all that you can manipulate. You can choose what food you put in your mouth and how much you exercise. You can choose whether you watch TV or clean the house. You control whether you apologize to someone or not.

You can choose to think happy thoughts or thoughts that make you unhappy.

When you focus on what you can influence, you’ll find that you can accomplish so much more!

Use these strategies to keep your attention on what you can do today:

  1. At the beginning of each hour, ask yourself how you can best spend the next 60 minutes. How can you use the next hour to your advantage? Asking this question will keep your mind in a productive mode. Ask yourself what you can do today that will matter.
  2. When you catch yourself worrying, ask yourself if this is something you can control. If you can’t do anything about it, steer your attention to something else. Learn to either focus on solutions or to let go of the situation. This approach just takes practice. The more you do it, the easier it gets!
  3. Be aware of your goals. Without something to point your focus toward, you’re more likely to spend your time worrying about things beyond your ability to influence. Knowing your goals will help you determine how to spend your time wisely.
  4. Know the difference between influence and control. For example, you can influence others, but you can’t control them. Use your influence wisely but recognize the limits.
  5. Center your thinking on solutions. Are you seeking answers or wallowing in your problems? Mentally rehashing the past accomplishes little. Using your incredible brain power to solve challenges is a great use of your time. When you catch yourself thinking too much, ask yourself if you’re thinking wisely.
  6. Review each day. Each evening, reflect on your day. How much did you accomplish? Were your thoughts and actions productive? Or did you waste time on things beyond your control?  When you spend time on this important activity, you’ll notice your behavior and choices beginning to shift.

Much of life is beyond your control. From the decisions made by the CEO of your company to global warming, there are many things in life that you can’t control to a significant degree.

However, there are a few things that you can control completely. This is where your time, thoughts, and energy can do the most good.
Avoid focusing on circumstances that you simply can’t influence. Why upset yourself further when no solution exists? The greatest gift you have is your attention. Put it to the best possible use.

Emotional Mastery for Happiness

Emotional Mastery for Happiness

Emotions control much of what happens throughout both our individual lives and in the world. Entire wars have begun as a result of human emotions. We make decisions about whether to get married or divorced based on our emotions. Ideas and inventions, passions, and hobbies are all driven by emotion, part of our internal drive to change the way we feel.

Emotional states affect our daily attitudes, thoughts, and behaviors. If we don’t take control of our emotional states, many other aspects of our lives will be out of control as well.

Mastering your emotional state is an essential element to achieving success, contentment, fulfillment, and happiness.

Learn how you can master your emotional states with the easy strategies in this guide.

Change Your Story

Everyone has one. Even you.

There are individual differences in what people decide to do with their story. What enables one person to experience personal trauma and tragedy and then decide to use it to their advantage in life, while that same situation makes another person feel like life is not worth living?

Some of the most incredible, happy people have experienced great personal tragedies.

On the flip side, people with every advantage in the world sometimes squander it and spend their days in addiction rehab centers as a result of drugs and/or alcohol.

What story are you telling yourself?

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Is the status quo in your life just the way it’s always been and there’s nothing that can change it?
  • Or, on the other hand, is there some way that you can you use your experiences to propel you forward toward greater success and happiness? How?

If your current story doesn’t serve you, then change it!

Beginning to change your story involves figuring out the meaning of events and issues in your life. It also means challenging the current story you have in your head and figuring out your life’s purpose.

Let your story encourage you to take action to make your dreams come true. When you’re living your life’s purpose, you’ll find greater contentment as you pursue your passions and arrange your life around what’s most important to you.

Practice Self-Awareness

Changing your story requires you to look back into your past. But what about the present? How do you control your emotions on a daily basis in your regular routines? For this part of your emotional mastery, practice self-awareness.

There are certain automatic thoughts that all people have that go a long way in dictating their emotional states.

For example, how do you feel when someone cuts you off on the highway? Do you allow yourself to become angry and upset? What about when you get a flat tire or you don’t get that promotion at work?

Use these strategies to become more self-aware and take charge of your thoughts:

  1. Notice what you’re thinking. Monitoring your automatic thoughts and becoming aware of when these thoughts begin is critical to begin changing them.
  2. Assign a different meaning to things that bring on negative thoughts.
    • For example, what does it mean when someone cuts you off on the highway?
    • Instead of being angry, one way you can think about it is by reminding yourself that not all drivers are courteous as you think they should be. Plus, realize that you don’t know their situation. Perhaps they have an emergency.
    • These new thoughts diffuse your anger so you can let it go and move on.

 When you control what’s going through your mind at any given moment, you’ve put yourself back in charge of your emotions.

Just as you can adjust your story to support you, by practicing self-awareness you can alter your current thoughts to support you, too!

Practice Gratefulness

Research has shown that gratitude goes a long way towards achieving a state of happiness. In fact, it’s hard not to be happy when you’re feeling grateful.

When you live in a state of gratitude, you’re also more likely to show prosocial, helping behaviors. Others tend to reciprocate such behaviors, and you end up with a circle of greater happiness for everyone involved!

You can practice gratefulness in many different ways.

Consider these methods:

  1. Spend five to ten minutes in quiet meditation and focus on the different things you’re grateful for in your life.
  2. Uplift someone. Another is by going out of your way each day to compliment or thank someone, without expecting any recognition in return.
  3. Help others. Spend time volunteering at food pantries or homeless shelters.

When we start taking small steps on a regular, daily basis to take control of our emotional states, we become more skilled in emotional fitness. Emotional fitness and awareness cultivates maturity, astuteness, and success, and can make a positive difference in your overall quality of life.

Stop Negative Self-Talk In Its Tracks

Stop Negative Self-Talk In Its Tracks

As humans, we’re sometimes very hard on ourselves – and this is especially true when narcissistic abuse is or has been an issue in your life. Whether we’re conscious of it or not, our beliefs can sometimes be very damaging to our self-esteem. Unfortunately, these negative talking points in our head sometimes keep us stuck in a rut.

A great psychologist, Albert Ellis, had many tokens of wisdom to pass around. One of his ideas centralized around these negative thoughts, which he often referred to as irrational beliefs.

Discover how you can stop this vicious circle and turn your self-talk into words that support and encourage you, instead.

Pay Attention to Triggers

The first step to stopping negative self-talk is figuring out what is triggering these negative beliefs in the first place.

Albert Ellis called these so-called triggers “activating events.” These can be everyday occurrences that happen to us or around us. Anything from having your boss or supervisor yell at you and take away your project to experiencing a run-in collision with a deer on a country road can be an activating event.

Are you in conflict with another? Did something not go your way?

Further, triggers can also be incredibly personal to you and unique to your life. These are sometimes referred to as “red flags.” Red flags are issues that pertain to you alone, such as your weight, family and close relationships, integrity, and anything else that you deem sacred.

When these issues get raised, they immediately set off an alarm within you.

Identify Irrational Beliefs

These irrational beliefs are the real culprits behind why we get upset or angry at the triggers we’ve just experienced, according to Albert Ellis. It’s not the trigger itself, but the beliefs that cause the negative self-talk.

Ellis claimed that these irrational beliefs are responsible for our emotional states, also known as the consequences of our beliefs. In this way, by identifying and then changing these beliefs, we can experience fewer emotional consequences.

For example, let’s look at this process:

  • You just learned that you got turned down for a promotion at work.
  • Getting turned down for the promotion is the activating event or trigger.
  • The underlying thoughts or irrational beliefs you might be having include, “I’m never going to advance my career,” “My boss hates me,” or even “My boss is never fair to me.”
  • These beliefs or thoughts can lead to emotional consequences of sadness and depression.

Dispute Irrational Beliefs

The idea behind identifying these negative, irrational beliefs is so you can do something to change them.

You can change them by challenging these beliefs. This is a process of examining the truth and reality and seeing that it is different from your belief.

In the prior example of getting turned down for a promotion, a series of questions can be asked to help you sort through reality from these irrational beliefs. You want to challenge yourself by asking questions that are almost the opposite of your identified beliefs.

Some of these challenge questions may be:

  • What is the truth in this situation?
  • Do I have evidence to support that my current beliefs are true?
  • In the example above: Are there times when my boss has been fair?
  • Is it true that I’ll never advance in my career, or is this just a minor setback?

These questions can help you identify the truth from what you may erroneously believe or negatively think about a situation.

If you can identify the truth, this can lead you to think differently and avoid suffering the emotional consequences of the trigger in the first place.

Follow this process whenever you notice thoughts that are unkind to you. Change your beliefs and you’ll find your self-talk becoming words of encouragement, instead.

Momentum and Motivation: 6 Strategies That Give You an Edge

Momentum and Motivation: 6 Strategies That Give You an Edge

The old adage “slow and steady wins the race” is actually sometimes true. The tortoise in the story of the tortoise and the hare won the race not because he was the smartest, smallest, or even wittiest. Rather, he won the race due to his laser-focus on the end result: the goal line.

If you struggle to keep momentum and motivation during your own quest to achieve a goal, you’re not alone! It’s common for survivors of narcissistic abuse.

Even though plateaus, setbacks, and relapses are completely normal when it comes to life-changing goals, there are many things you can do to keep the fire inside during the journey.

Try these strategies to maintain your momentum and motivation:

  1. Take action daily. This is the single best step you can take in order to further your momentum. Taking action ensures that you’re making progress, no matter how small. Even if you don’t know exactly what action you’ll be taking, just do something, anything, to further yourself.
    • For example, If you want to lose weight, it’s important to burn more calories than you take in each day. If you want to grow your business, review business growth materials.
  2. Find motivational nuggets. Take a few minutes each day to read something inspiring, whether it’s motivational quotes or affirmations to keep your confidence going.
    • Motivational quotes that inspire you can help transcend your mindset away from the daily grind and onto things that are bigger than yourself!
  3. Check your progress. If you’re feeling stuck or like you’re not moving forward, review your goal that you’re trying to accomplish. Write down your goals and check in on your progress each day.
    • Think positively about how close you are to the goalpost rather than how far you are from it.
  4. Talk to another. Find another person who has already achieved goals similar to the ones you’re working on.
    • If you’re goal is to get physically fit, for example, find a bodybuilder, runner, athlete or other like-minded individual whose been in your shoes.
    • Extract all the wisdom, advice and helpful tidbits that you can from their story.
  5. Plan your week. Scheduling time to work on things related to your goals is critical. We use schedules for everything else in our lives, so there’s no reason that time devoted to working on personal goals cannot be included as well.
  6. Reward yourself. Small rewards have been shown to motivate everyone from kids to older adults. Rewards act as a positive reinforcement, and even affirmation of a job well done.
    • When we’re being rewarded, we tend to continue pressing on towards our goals.

These are just a few of the things that we can do on a regular basis to keep motivation and ensure that we’re continually making progress.

The key word is “progress.” If we’re taking some action or doing even just one thing on a daily basis that furthers us along in our goals, we’ll feel better about ourselves and be able to keep that momentum.

Other things that we can do on a regular basis to keep momentum and motivation alive is to write in a journal, listen to inspiring talks, join a support group related to our goals, spend a few minutes in quiet meditation on our life’s purpose, or even posting daily reminders.

The more alive that we can make our goals, the more inspired and motivated we’ll be to take action and achieve them.

Bullet Journal 101: Pages, Resources and How to Use It

Bullet Journal 101: Pages, Resources and How to Use It

Bullet Journaling 101 – Everything You Need To Know to Start and Use Your Own Bullet Journal

This is what I’m currently using:

My Bullet Journal – Leuchtturm1917 http://amzn.to/2D3g6C7
My Pens – http://amzn.to/2F4MmFF

The bullet journal is an analog system, meaning you don’t need anything more complicated than a notebook and a pen or pencil.

While it’s very customizable, and you’re certainly welcome to change things around,

In this article, I will walk you through the setup for a traditional bullet journal as first introduced by Ryder Carroll from BulletJournal.com. Use it as a starting point, get comfortable with the basic system and then change it from there.

You’ll need a notebook, a pen, and a little bit of time to get started. The type of notebook you use is up to you. The traditional style is grid or dotted paper, but I find even ruled or blank pages work just fine.

Okay, once you’ve got all that together, you’ll want to know how to set it up. Here is a really fast overview. 

The Key

The first page of your bullet journal will include your key. This will record the shorthand you use for your bullet entries.

Here is my Bullet Journal key – and if you scroll down below it, you’ll see the more traditional one. That’s what I love about this system – it’s so very flexible. It’s part of why it works for me!

Here’s the traditional codes used. Feel free to add to it, or modify it as needed.

ᐧ (Dot) Task

X Completed Task

> Migrated Task

⃝ Appointment

⬤ Completed Appointment

⟴ Migrated Appointment

–  Notes

The Index

Your next two to four pages will be set aside for indexing. This will allow you to quickly find any collection, or get to a particular month. Title each page as an index page and move on to the next section.

The Future Log

With the original bullet journal setup this is a two page spread that records the coming 6 months. Many bullet journalers find it helpful to use a more traditional yearly calendar instead. This is a great place to record birthdays, anniversaries, or block out vacation time. Add or note the page number and record your future log in your index.

Monthly Logs

Start each month with a monthly log. Here you’ll record appointments and due dates. You can use a grid layout, or use one line for each day of the month. While this isn’t where you’ll track most of your tasks, the monthly log will come in handy for those times when you have a dentist appointment or your daughter is invited to a friend’s birthday party.

Daily Logs

The daily log is where you’ll spend most of your time in the journal. Start a new section each day and record anything important for the day. Make your list of tasks and cross them off as you get them finished. Make notes of anything important you need to remember throughout the day as well as appointments as they pop up. Everything gets logged in the daily log for speed and ease. From there you can move it as needed to the monthly or future log, or migrate it to a different day.

Migrating Tasks

At the end of your day, or first thing the next morning it’s time to review your tasks and cross out and migrate anything that isn’t checked off. For example, if you didn’t get around to doing laundry today, draw an arrow through it and add the task to today’s daily task list. If you noted an appointment that came up yesterday, move it to your monthly list and draw an arrow through it in yesterday’s list. If something no longer applies then cross it out. Your goal is to deal with each entry from your daily list by completing it, migrating it, or crossing it out.

Collections

The final part of the puzzle is collections. These are basically thematic lists you make that aren’t date related. A perfect example is a list of books you want to read. Start the list on the next blank page. Title it and start jotting down the books you want to read. Make a note of the page you’re on and add this collection to your index page. Now when you want to add a new book title to this list, or reference it to see what you want to read, you can easily find it via the index.

Using A Bullet Journal To Boost Your Productivity

A bullet journal is a great way to stay productive at work, at home, or in school. Just about anyone can benefit from bullet journaling from college students to busy working moms. If you feel like you don’t have enough hours in the day to get everything done you want to accomplish, use a bullet journal to help you plan and prioritize

The Bullet Journal Makes You Plan Ahead

As you make out your daily tasks lists, you have to think about what you should be working on. This makes you plan ahead and think things through instead of sitting at your desk doing busy work. A little bit of planning can help you make progress that much faster and it will boost your overall productivity. If you find daily to-do lists helpful, give bullet journaling a try as a way to get even more productive faster.

Some people find it helpful to make out their next day’s task list at the end of the day. Others prefer to make out their list first thing in the morning, while they are drinking coffee and getting ready for the day. Both are valid approaches. Give both a try and see what works for you.

The Bullet Journal Motivates You To Get Stuff Done

Once you have your daily tasks recorded, you’ll be motivated to work on checking them off. This will greatly increase your productivity in several different ways. The first is that you know exactly what you should be working on. You won’t waste time figuring out what your next step is, or sit there and watch cat videos instead of doing something productive.

The daily list of tasks will also make you push just a little harder to make sure everything gets done before you call it a day. Try it and see how much more you can get done in a day with a daily list in your bullet journal.

The Bullet Journal Is A Great Record To Help You Reflect

Last but not least, the bullet journal is a great record of what you’ve been doing on a daily basis. Set aside a little time to look through your notes at the end of the week or the month. Reflect on what’s working and what isn’t. Where do you need to work harder, what can you stop doing. Use the record your bullet journal gives you to improve your processes and tasks. It will make you better at your job, in school, and at home. Use it as a personal and professional improvement tool.

Quick Tips for Food Budgeting

Quick Tips for Food Budgeting

It’s a rare family that’s not on a food budget. The family food shopper searches for any way possible to cut back on the amount of money spent on food. One of those is using coupons. Personally, I love the flexibility and convenience (also a time saver) of the AmazonFresh program.

Conservatively speaking, there are millions of coupons circulating every day that could cut your food budget by 30 to 50% – even more if you’re willing to turn couponing into a passion.

Even the casual coupon clipper can become quite successful overnight and with more work and dedication become a super saver shopper. You have to be patient, flexible and perhaps give up your favorite brand, but it can be done and you can save a lot of money.

Remember, coupons are designed to sell a certain product and get you in the store but if the item is not one you need and use, then saving money on that item is a moot point.

Food coupons can be found anywhere. The Sunday newspaper is usually the best source but also look on line, at public libraries and at coupon swap boxes at the store itself. Some stores issue coupons at checkout for use on your next trip. Be sure and note expiration dates and if a cash value is offered. Don’t let them expire and go to waste.

  • Organize before you shop. Keep coupons sorted by food type in an easy to search through container and match coupons with needs on your grocery list. Some coupons have mail in rebates. Beware of this and follow up.
  • Sign up for a store loyalty card that usually offers coupons plus bonus points that are cumulative each time you shop. Using a store’s own credit card can lead to double points and free item coupons.
  • When you combine regular coupons with sale prices, you’re becoming a super saver. If a coupon item is not on sale and it’s not an urgent buy wait until it’s on sale. Be on the lookout for sale and bonus points tags.
  • Compare ads. It may pay you to drive to more than one store if it’s an item you need, have a coupon and it’s not available anywhere else. But, before you burn up extra gas, ask if the store honors its competitor’s coupons. Many will do this just to keep you in the store. You can call ahead to save a trip.
  • Don’t be susceptible to the 2 for a dollar marketing tool unless it’s to your advantage with a coupon. If you need two of the item go ahead and buy them; but save by buying only one if that’s what you need. For example, the sign may read: 15 limes for a dollar. Unless you’re a big lime user, some could go bad before you use them.

There was a time when some shoppers felt using coupons was not appreciated by the grocer and hesitated to use them. They didn’t want to hold up the line while the checker scanned coupons.

It’s a faster and easier method now with computers. Some of these strategies may not be right for you. It takes practice and patience, trial and error. If stretching your food dollar is your goal, there are few better ways than using coupons!

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