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Create a Life Plan in 30 Minutes or Less…and Why You Need to

Do you have a life plan? If not, it’s time to think about creating one. We are not talking about some 20 page research paper with charts and graphs and maps. Just a general snapshot of where you are right now in all the areas that matter and where you’d like to go in the future.

This should take no more than 30 minutes. This is your life we’re talking about…you can find 30 minutes. And if you can’t …we need to talk, you and I.

How would you rate your life on a scale of 1 – 10? – Are you satisfied with that rating? What would you be satisfied with?

Write a brief description of the current state of your life. – Health, relationships, work, finances, spiritual or emotional well-being, community, etc. Whatever is going on. Just briefly jot it down.

What makes you happy? – There must be some good things, some things that bring you joy and make you laugh.

What are the drains on your energy and happiness? – What people, situations or behaviors are your kryptonite? We all have these things (or someones) that suck the life out of us like vampires draining our life force.

What isn’t working in your life? - These are the obstacles to living a satisfied life of fulfillment…Do you need to lose weight, be more organized, find a different job, end or change a relationship, manage your stress better or maybe just learn to laugh again.

Now describe your ideal life. - I’m not talking about a commercial for the “Rich and Famous,” some Hollywood fairy tale. I’m talking about what kind of life would truly make you happy to get out of bed in the morning. What would you be doing? Who would you be with? How would you be feeling?

What do you need to do to get that life?  – What needs to happen for you to get from point A to point B? Again, not a detailed outline of actions for the next 20 years, just some general goals to work toward, a few habits to adopt or a change in attitude or surroundings to adopt.

Something to think about…Why? Why do you want whatever it is that you want? What do you really want to accomplish in this life? What kind of person do you want to be? What do you want to be remembered for?

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10 Ways to Make Change Work for You

Change is not the enemy. In fact it can be the best friend you never knew you had.

From time to time it’s beneficial to shake things up and get out of a rut, even if you think that rut is working for you! You’d be surprised at what a measurable difference a small change in routine, environment or process can make. Change can be a valuable success and happiness tool if you learn to make it work for you instead of avoiding it at all costs.

Commit this week to making just one change in the way you live and work.

10 Change Suggestions to get you started:

  • Rearrange your furniture in your office or a room at home – Especially if you work from home (I recently moved my desk so that I was no longer facing the wall and immediately found I was happier and more productive.)
  • Change the colors that surround you – Colors have been scientifically proven to affect mood and creativity (you don’t have to paint your walls…new curtains, a throw pillow, flowering plant or an inexpensive wall hanging can work.)
  • Wear something different – Buy something completely different from your usual wardrobe, even a new tie or scarf will work or wear favorite clothing in a new combination.
  • Shift your normal routine – Do you always get groceries or go to the bank on the same day? Do you always check your email first? How about when you take breaks and lunch? Shake it up and see how it works (you can always go back.)
  • Try out a new commuting activity – If you normally talk on your mobile phone or listen to the news, how about listening to an audio book instead or try a silent commute (might be uncomfortable for some, but I find the silence to be great opportunity to mull over creative ideas.)
  • Expand your social circle – Eat lunch with someone different, invite a colleague or acquaintance for coffee, ask a neighbor to dinner ( you never know where you will find your next friend mentor or business contact.)
  • Swap activities – Do yoga at lunch instead of sitting in the lunch room, try Zumba instead of the treadmill, Pilates in place of yoga or biking instead of your usual morning run (altering your exercise routine not only keeps it more interesting, but also is more effective at improving your fitness and health.)
  • Eat a different meal – If you always have a bagel or muffin for breakfast, try having eggs or yogurt and fruit instead (the extra protein will increase you alertness and energy level.)
  • Examine one firmly entrenched process and see if you can tweak or overhaul it (well established processes and equipment that may have worked quite well at one time, may not be the most effective method now.)
  • How about changing your attitude or behavior – Gulp! This is the toughest, but by far the most effective change strategy (If you notice that you complain or criticize often, try remaining silent when the urge strikes.  Or if you’re always late, make it a priority to be on time for a week and see how it feels.)
Most importantly…Smile…It changes everything.

Question everything, move forward, enjoy the journey.

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Gratefulness is the Key to a Happy Life

“Gratefulness is the key to a happy life that we hold in our hands, because if we are not grateful, then no matter how much we have we will not be happy — because we will always want to have something else or something more.” — Brother David Steindl-Rast

In my office, which is my “private space” where I spend much of my time, I surround myself with reminders of all of the people and things in my life which I am grateful for. It keeps me grounded in the reality of what is important in life and helps to keep me out of the “something more” mentality. If we continue to look for happiness in something or someone else, we will never find it. Reflect this week on what you already have and ask yourself this question.

“Can I be happy with my life just the way it is right now?”

If the answer is no, then look inside yourself for the solution. You will never find it “out there.”

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Overwhelmed? Stuck? Stressed? Try This Simple Strategy

We all feel overwhelmed occasionally…some of us more than others. And by us…I mean me, though it probably applies to many of my readers as well.

It’s the new way of life on the 21st century isn’t it?

I’m not going to tell you that I can cure the insidious attacks of overwhelm and manic busyness that we so often fall victim to. I would however like to share a very simple strategy that has worked for me…at least it works when I remember to use it.

You can use this strategy any time you feel stuck, stressed or unable to focus, have thoughts swirling round and round in your head or just can’t figure where to start or what to do next.

Trust me. It works. And it’s very easy.

I call it one of my Sanity Savers!


Step 1: Stop!  - Stop whatever you are doing; a few minutes won’t kill you. This stops the spiral.

Step 2: Take a breath – Just take one minute to take a few deep breaths. You can count to 10 if you wish (or use affirmations or mantras if that works for you.) I just breathe slowly in, hold it for a few seconds and breathe out. Repeat a few times. Simple. This lowers your stress and calms the mind. You think and act better with a calmer mind.

Step 3: Order – Briefly use just a few minutes to bring order to your “zone.” Only your immediate zone and only a few minutes. This is not the time to organize your whole house or office or even the entire room. Just look at what’s right around you and tidy it up. Do not sort through all of your piles, or scrub your kitchen sink. Just put away what you don’t need and straighten what’s left; this may be the top of your desk, your kitchen counter, your bed, your work table or even your car if you’re driving. Clearing your space focuses your mind.


Step 4: Pick – Choose one thing to do next. Just one. It can be a phone call, an email, a chore at home, a project you’re working on. It really doesn’t matter what you choose. Now that you’ve regrouped, calmed your mind and cleared your space it’s easier to move forward. One step at a time.

It’s that simple, though it’s not always easy.

RememberLife moves ahead one thought, one breath and one action at a time.

Do you have other techniques to share? What works for you?


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You Never Know What You Might See if Your Eyes are Open

Balloon soaring

Image by RoyaleScuderi via Flickr

The most important lessons often come when you least expect them.

This past weekend I awoke very early on a Sunday morning for absolutely no reason at all…maybe. One can argue that there is a reason for everything if you look hard enough. The spring is still chilly in central NY where I live, but since for once it wasn’t raining so I decided to brave the front porch with my coffee. And I am so glad I did!

Shortly after I settled in to talk with my husband (who is an annoyingly chipper early riser by nature,) I spotted a brightly colored hot air balloon in the distance. It seemed to be floating over my little city, not in a hurry, just gently making its way north. I looked for a moment, and then turned back to my conversation.

When I looked up a few moments later it was almost directly over my house. At which point I sprinted for my camera, breathlessly returning in the nick of time to capture the magnificent sight. The occupants of the balloon waved as I frantically snapped photos, most likely marveling at the crazy woman with the camera. And then quickly it was over and the balloon glided away.

What is my point you ask. Well, I honestly do have one. Really.

If I hadn’t taken the opportunity to go outside and savor the early morning, I would have missed this moment. If we hadn’t looked up at that precise time, we would have missed this moment. If the winds hadn’t shifted to change the course of the balloon it would have remained nothing more than a dot on the horizon …and I would have missed this moment.

The lesson?

Keep your eyes open and be aware of what is going on around you. We often have our heads down and get so caught up in what we are doing that we miss opportunities that slip right by without our notice.

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