7 Great Ways to Save Money Before the Holidays

I know, just thinking about the holidays can make you want to bury your head under the pillow! There are many reasons the holidays can stress us out, not least of which is money. Unless you are growing a money tree, it isn’t that easy to generate extra income quickly. This week, I’ll share some tips to help you start earning or saving a little moolah. If you start now, you’ll have 8 weeks to work on building a holiday slush fund.

Here are some of my favorite ways to generate or save some cash:

  • Facebook Marketplace – Selling items on Facebook Marketplace is super easy! You take a picture of your item, put in a brief description (sizes/measurements if necessary) state what town you’re in, and BOOM…you have posted an item for sale. People can search within a certain radius and you can arrange for pickup. I just sold a painting and an entertainment center this way. Tag Sales aren’t just for summertime anymore!
  • Facebook Groups – Find groups in and around your town. Just like the Marketplace above, you post the information and can chat with people about them. Also like Marketplace, you can buy or sell.
  • Thread UpThis website is an online consignment shop. I’ve found them very accurate in their descriptions and when you buy items they come in an adorable polka dot package. In addition to buying, you can send them items to sell. They get a cut of course, but it’s reasonable. If you choose to send clothes, they are very strict, so read up on the expected quality of submissions.
  • PoshmarkThis is my current fav. Just like with Thread Up, you can buy or sell your clothes, shoes, jewelry, handbags, and makeup. What makes them different is you post the picture, provide a description and post it yourself. They also get a cut, but the buyer pays shipping and they can credit your account or direct deposit the funds directly into your bank account.  When someone buys your item, all payments are handled through Poshmark who sends you a label to print out and put on the package you send out. This allows you to hold on to your own items and you determine the price and any reductions. Very Cool!!
  • Le ToteThis is a clothing rental sight. For a monthly fee, you can select a number of items to borrow for as long as you’d like. These tend to be new fashion looks. If you like them, keep them and you’ll get a discounted purchase price. It’s a fun way to try new looks. You can stop your subscription anytime. They have clothing and jewelry.
  • Rent the Runway Similar to LeTote, you can borrow a name brand item for a significantly reduced rental fee. This is great for weddings, or other special events where you may only wear the item for that occasion. It’s much cheaper than buying a new outfit, especially if designer names are important to you!
  • Shopify I haven’t tried this myself, but there’s a low monthly rate option if you have products or services that you’d like to sell. Worth looking into if you want to create an e-book, already have a physical inventory of products you make or sell, or have services to offer.

These are just a few options to sell your items or buy at discounted rates. There are plenty of consignment shops and Fall Fairs if you prefer to do this off-line, so work on doing what’s comfortable for you. All of the versions listed above are pretty easy to do, so don’t let the technology hold you back.

Alright, your turn! If you’ve used one of these methods, share your experience, or if you have one to add, please do in the comments section!

If you would like to work together and develop a plan for living a life by YOUR design, then an Empowerment Session is for you! Take advantage of the complimentary strategy session!

If you’d like special offers, updates, and insider-only goodies, SUBSCRIBE to be a VIP! (It’s free and I won’t blow up your in-box!)

email April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com 

Who’s Paving Your Path?

I ask people all the time what their goals are – what they want out of life. Sometimes they have an answer, like, having more money, better relationships, more energy. Other times, they aren’t really clear on specifically what they want. They are “open” to the possibilities that life will offer. That was me in my earlier years and still creeps up if I’m not careful. I have all too often allowed others to pave my path, so to speak. If you are not clear on what you want out of life, or you aren’t taking specific action to attain that life, then you are likely allowing others to pave your path as well.

While we may need help lifting the stones in our life, at some point we have to lay out our own path. The sooner the better, but it’s never too late. This is much easier said than done, especially if we have been allowing others to do the heavy lifting for us. There is some important inner work that must be done in order to become the bricklayer of your own life.

First, you have to identify what you’re avoiding by allowing others to determine your path. Are you indecisive because you don’t want to be the “bad guy,” and make a decision that would disappoint others? Are you afraid of failure, so by allowing others to make decisions for you, if it doesn’t work out, it really wasn’t your fault? Is the hard work that would inevitably show up, keeping you from taking on the role of leader in your life? You have to get honest about why you relinquish this responsibility to others.

Next, you need clarity on what you really want. What’s been missing in your life? What would you really like to have in it? What do you want to experience or accomplish? Dare to dream big. This step can be much more difficult than it sounds if you’ve been determining what you want based on what others say you “should.” This is not a ten-minute project. Spend some time every day asking yourself these questions. Your answers may change over time, but keep exploring them.

Lastly, you need to take action. Baby steps are fine, but start taking back control of your path. This could simply be sharing your opinion more frequently, or challenging what you’ve always done or how you’ve always done it. If it doesn’t fit like you thought it would, you can always alter course. There is no rule against changing your mind. What would you like your next step to be? What’s something, perhaps even small, that you would like and to hell with what others think about it?

This is a long, challenging process, as I have personally experienced. But it is, oh so worth it! It took me a long time and a LOT of baby steps to start embracing a mind of my own and sharing it. I continue to work on this area of my life, but with each passing day I continue to feel more in control of the path I’m laying for myself. You deserve to experience that as well. There’s a beautiful (and scary at times) sense of responsibility that comes with owning your own future. I can screw up and make mistakes, but I learn from them and use that knowledge to work towards achieving the life I’m trying to build for myself. The flip side of that coin, is I also get to revel in the joy of successfully accomplishing my goals.

No matter where you are on this journey, I’m certain you have some words of wisdom to share. Which of the steps listed do you think is most important to the process of paving your own way? Do you have a strategy that worked for you in the past? Share your thoughts in the comments!

If you would like to work together and develop a plan for living a life by YOUR design, then an Empowerment Session is for you! Take advantage of the complimentary strategy session!

If you’d like special offers, updates, and insider-only goodies, SUBSCRIBE to be a VIP! (It’s free and I won’t blow up your in-box!)

email April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com 

5 Steps to Confronting Your Flaws

We all have flaws that seem to be on repeat in our lives. Sometimes we aren’t initially aware of these, or they don’t significantly affect us until there is a life change of some sort, like a new job or new relationship, but it doesn’t usually take us long to recognize we have them. It’s what we do after this recognition that determines whether this will be an ongoing challenge, or a crack that we are able to mend over time.

We can be hard on ourselves, and overly self-critical, but despite this, we usually know where our biggest issues lie. Are you always running late? Do you procrastinate until the eleventh hour? Are you overly sensitive, or not sensitive enough? Is organization or time management an issue? Whatever your particular flaws are, it’s important that you confront the one that is most negatively impacting your life right now. Not entirely sure what they are? Ask! Your friends, family, boss, co-workers, clients or customers will leave you a breadcrumb trail of clues if you really don’t know. You just have to pay attention and listen. Once you know what you need to work on, here are five key steps to take on this challenge:

  • Don’t get wrapped up in the fact that you have a flaw – beating yourself up about it, isn’t going to help. You DON’T suck just because you have particular flaw…we ALL have them. You’re no worse for the ones you deal with.
  • Get real about how this flaw is impacting your life – You really have to be honest with yourself and get clear on exactly where this flaw is holding you back. Where does it exhibit itself in your personal life and relationships? How is it impacting you professionally? How could both areas of your life be better if you improved on it? Write these things down so you have a clear picture of what you’re up against.
  • Make a list of helpful resources – How could you get help in this area? List all the people, books, websites, organizations, trainings that you can come up with to address the problem. Do a Google search on “How to improve _______________” Insert your particular flaw and just see all the options that come up. Use different words to describe your challenge so that you have the broadest possible choices. If organization is your issue, try looking up project management tips, time management, etc.
  • Create daily action steps – No amount of research alone is going to change anything until you take action. If you get an idea or learn something, put it into practice to see if it helps. You may need to adjust over time, or try something different altogether, but you won’t know that until you act. Make a list of steps (a short list is best, at least in the beginning) that you stick to every day to make progress in the area you are focused on.
  • Reassess as needed – After a reasonable amount of time has passed, reflect on where you started and where you are now. You may not be a superstar in that area, but I bet you’ll see some progress. It’s important to take the time to celebrate where you’ve made improvements. This will give you the motivation you need to continue on. It can also help you determine if you need to change your approach slightly based on where you are now.

Flaws are a part of life, and while we shouldn’t strive for unattainable perfection, we should work towards improving those that are holding us back from a more productive, fulfilling, and joyful life. When identifying flaws, remember to focus on those you wish to work on. No single person should determine your areas of opportunity. Look for patterns where a particular flaw has exhibited itself multiple times or in multiple places. This is a better factor to consider rather than one individual.

You have most certainly made improvements in your life before. What worked for you? Was it one of the five listed above, or something else? Share in the comment’s section.

If you would like to work together and develop a plan for living a life by YOUR design, then an Empowerment Session is for you! Take advantage of the complimentary strategy session!

If you’d like special offers, updates, and insider-only goodies, SUBSCRIBE to be a VIP! (It’s free and I won’t blow up your in-box!)

email April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com 

Optimism is Great, but it Won’t Get Your Work Done

I’m an unapologetic optimist. I can find the bright side of just about anything, even a growing to-do list. But no matter how high I turn up my optimism, that isn’t going to get my work done. Sure, typically speaking, I can thrive under pressure. But that doesn’t mean I don’t take a few seconds to kick myself in the ass for waiting until the last minute. There’s a better way. And while I can bring optimism along with me, it’s realism I have to put behind the wheel.

Perhaps you’ve heard of the Stockdale Paradox. Named after Jim Stockdale, a United States military officer held captive for eight years during the Vietnam War. As he tells it, he never lost faith that he would survive his ordeal. Yes, he had optimism, as did many of his prison-mates. However, some of these fellow captives relied only on optimism. And as year after year of disappointment stacked on each other, they did not survive. Optimism offers great short-term benefits, but without the mutual acceptance of reality, it can burn out quickly. That’s where Stockdale differed. He was optimistic while remaining aware of his realities. The paradox is stated as:

You must retain faith that you will prevail in the end, regardless of the difficulties WHILE confronting the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.

So how can you apply this to your growing number of responsibilities? You have to stare those responsibilities square in the eye. What is your current reality? Do you have 4 projects that all require immediate attention? This may be at work, in your personal life, or some combination of both. What tasks have a fast-approaching deadline? Once you know what you’re up against, without the rose-colored glasses of optimism skewing your view, you can make a plan. Once you’ve done that, then go ahead and put those rose-colored glasses back on and get to work.

How did Admiral Stockdale do it? He worked with others. He devised a tap code to be used with his fellow captives. This communication was essential to them, if only to offer comfort and encouragement. Who, in your life, can serve this role for you? Surround yourself with people you can communicate with to help you get through the tough moments. They likely have some ideas on how you can forge ahead and meet your responsibilities. If you’re an A-type who has to do everything yourself, work on delegating even small tasks to others or asking for help. There are friends, family, and co-workers who would be happy to offer their support.

Facing our realities while trusting that we will overcome the challenges will give us the best chance of living the life we so desire. Would you like to learn more techniques about balancing your priorities and meeting your responsibilities without burning out? Then I invite you to sign up for Michael Hyatt’s FREE webinar, The 7 Deadly Sins of Productivity – The Hidden Habits Undermining Your Performance  (And How to Change Them). He will be holding several this week only. Click the link to find the day and time that would work best for you.

I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments, so let me know how well you balance optimism with realism.

If you would like to work together and develop a plan for living a life by YOUR design, then an Empowerment Session is for you! Take advantage of the complimentary strategy session!

If you’d like special offers, updates, and insider-only goodies, SUBSCRIBE to be a VIP! (It’s free and I won’t blow up your in-box!)

email April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com 

You’re Busy, But Are You Productive?

Life moves fast, and so do we. It seems we are always doing something. When’s the last time you remember just doing nothing (sleep doesn’t count)? I bet you’re hard pressed to think of a time. But just because we are busy, does not mean we are productive. When we procrastinate, we find something else to do, instead of the project we’re avoiding. Or, we may be always doing something, but is it the right something? Productivity relies on a lot of moving parts to actually be successful. Let’s talk about the 5 most common:

  • Systems – What routine do you have to process responsibilities? How do you track and schedule everything on your to-do list? Do you use any strategy to attack your workload? Systems get things done because they are reliable, consistent, and proven. Do you have such a system in place for yourself, or are you like a batter in a batting cage just swinging at everything that comes your way and hoping you hit most of them?
  • Technology – There are a lot of apps out there to keep us organized, but these can slow us down just as easily (yeah, I’m talking to you Facebook Birthday notifications! I go on to wish someone a happy, and the next thing I know, I’m mindlessly scrolling through my feed!). Are you using technology, and if so, are you using it in a way that benefits you?
  • Time – How are you spending your time? Is it balanced? Are you putting your time in the right places – the places that are important to you? There’s always work to be done, but are you making time for play? Do you “plan” on doing some activities after your work gets done, and then realize there’s no time left? Are you putting the right things first? Stephen Covey had a great example of this using rocks, but I like how Brett from the Art of Manliness shows this. See the video HERE (you can actually increase the play speed to 1.5 without losing the point).
  • People – There are important people in your life that rely on you to be productive. Spouses, kids, parents, bosses, teachers, etc. If these people (or what they represent) are important to you, there’s a good chance you would like to be productive with these people. Are you prioritizing them? Are you accomplishing what you know you need to with them? And what about people that can help you? Others that could assist, direct, suggest, or just make your life easier? Are you reaching out to them?
  • You – Yup, you can be your own worst enemy (procrastination, failure to prioritize, lack of delegation, etc.) or your own best friend. But you have to know WHY productivity is important to you. You have to have a compelling reason to BE productive instead of just busy.

If you watched the Art of Manliness video above, you saw that by simply rearranging the order of things, you could get more accomplished, get the right things accomplished, and ultimately be more productive. Of course, this is an over-simplification, but it could work, don’t you think?

How do you fare in those five areas? Are you a Productivity Pro or not so much? Are you not really sure where you fall on the Productivity Spectrum? Wouldn’t it be great to find out? One of the most respected (and productive) professionals I know, Michael Hyatt, designed a free assessment to help us identify our strengths and areas of opportunity when it comes to our productivity. It’s quick and easy to fill out and the results are VERY eye-opening and helpful (I scored a 57. I’m in the batting cage, I’m hitting most of the balls, but I’m frustrated by the constant pressure). Click the link to take your assessment and get your score: TOTAL PRODUCTIVITY ASSESSMENT.

You will also be given the opportunity to attend one of Michael’s free webinars on the topic, too. This is sure to be filled with great tips & techniques to help you to be more productive. You can sign up for the webinar once you get your productivity results (I did, so maybe I’ll “see” you there). The point to being productive is so that we have time for all the things important to us WITHOUT being stressed out all the time. You deserve that, don’t ya think?

Your turn! What’s a productivity hack that you rely on? Or, which of the 5 areas above are you BEST at? Share in the comments.

If you would like to work together and develop a plan for living a life by YOUR design, then an Empowerment Session is for you! Take advantage of the complimentary strategy session!

If you’d like special offers, updates, and insider-only goodies, SUBSCRIBE to be a VIP! (It’s free and I won’t blow up your in-box!)

email April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com 

Reaching Your Potential

You know what I love about angel cards, tarot cards, fortune cookie messages, and horoscopes? They all give me a unique glimpse at my potential. I’m not saying that the messages these bring are coming from some higher power. I have no idea. But just seeing the potential is enough to get me excited.

The Free Dictionary defines potential as: capable of being, but not yet in existence1. That’s how I feel about it too, which makes it pretty exciting when some message of potential comes my way. But there are numerous ways to consider our own individual potential. Whether you are trying to build your own business, be the best parent you can be, climb the ranks in your chosen field, find the depth of your spirituality, or any number of other potentialities, there are a few best practices (besides fortune cookies and astrology) to consider.

  • Know Thyself – In order to reach your potential in any area of your life, you have to be aware of your greatest strengths and greatest areas of opportunity. These are the current “cards” you’ve been dealt. Knowing these helps you determine how to play your hand to your greatest advantage. If you struggle to pinpoint your weaknesses, you best start talking to those who spend time with you the most. Asked correctly, this could be the most valuable information you ever receive.
  • Know What You Love – Desire is a huge step towards potential. You have to love what it is you’re striving for. If the Universal Law of Gravitation makes you want to run in the other direction, being a physics professor is probably not on your short list of potential careers. On the other hand, if you love crafting, there are countless ways for you to reach your highest potential in this aspect of your life.
  • Clarity on the Important Skills – Whether you’re trying to reach the highest potential in your marriage or at work, you need to know the most important skills that will help you achieve that. Patience is a top one in relationships & parenting. How high on the patience scale are you? If you’re not high enough, figure out how to improve in this area. This is true for any skill that is required to reach your potential.
  • Talk with Others Who Have Succeeded – As much as we may convince ourselves that our journey to potential is different than someone else’s, that’s likely not true. Or rather, not as true as we think. Sure, some details may be different, but generally speaking, if you’re looking for career success in a particular industry, talking with someone who has met success in that industry will likely provide you with some useful insight. The same is true, no matter what area of life you’re focused on. Talk to someone who is ahead of you on this path.
  • Taking Action – No matter how glowing an angel card reading may be, if you aren’t willing to take action and make that prediction come to life, it just isn’t going to happen. As lovely as it would be to just sit on the couch and wait for the delivery of our highest potential, it just doesn’t work like that.

I love a good angel card reading as much as the next gal, but potential is only a possibility. It’s up to you to bring it into existence! Following these 5 best practices is a sure way to get on the fast-track to reaching your highest potential in any area of your life. Of course, once you reach one level of high potential, there’s always another level waiting for you. This means it’s never too late to seek out your highest potential. Your “cards” may change as you reach different stages of life, but there is always an opportunity to reach our highest imaginable level of potential.

Now it’s your turn! Which of these five (or another best practice altogether) has helped you reach higher levels of your potential? Share in the comments!

If you would like to work together and develop a plan for living a life by YOUR design, then an Empowerment Session is for you! Take advantage of the complimentary strategy session!

If you’d like special offers, updates, and insider-only goodies, SUBSCRIBE to be a VIP! (It’s free and I won’t blow up your in-box!)

email April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com 

 

1 - Potential. (n.d.). Retrieved September 09, 2017, from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/potential

The Difference Between Healthy and Nutritious

It is very common for us to think that when we purchase something healthy, we are also purchasing something nutritious. However, that has more to do with marketing than accuracy. First, let’s get technical here. Merriam-Webster defines healthy as, “free from disease or pain,” and nutritious as, “nourishing.”1 Hopefully, none of us are consuming products that are diseased or in pain (Eww). By definition alone, products aren’t “healthy,” they are somewhere on the spectrum between non-nutritious and nutritious.

In order to prevent my attorney from experiencing heart palpitations, let me state for the record, I am not a medical professional. I have no formal training in nutrition or health. However, I do have a reasonable amount of common sense, and an even keener eye for it when I see it. Michael Ruhlman, author of Grocery, The Buying & Selling of Food in America, says, “Our food is not healthy; we will be healthy if we eat nutritious food.”2 Food companies try to market their products to appear healthy, which can lead us to believe they are nutritious. I looked up a popular item for kids, fruit snacks. I saw one popular brand put in large, bold print, on the box that they were made with “natural juice.” Then I looked up a well-respected organic brand and viewed their ingredient list: organic tapioca syrup, organic cane sugar, organic tapioca syrup solids, organic white grape juice concentrate, and more. These first four ingredients, while sounding better than corn syrup, are just sugars. Sugars have virtually no nutritional content.

Okay, that one may have been obvious. How about fat-free half-and-half? That MUST be better than full-fat half-and-half right? The top two main ingredients of the full-fat version are milk & cream. The top two main ingredients of the fat-free version are skim milk & corn syrup. So, you get half the calories, double the sugar and none of the iron.

Life moves fast, and we don’t always have the time (or chemistry degree) to dissect ingredient labels. If a company is telling us something is healthy, or all-natural, or organic, or gluten-free, shouldn’t we be able to trust that it’s a good choice? Perhaps, but that’s not always the way it works. Some tricks that get us include: sugar ingredients being spread throughout the ingredients list to avoid showing in the first few ingredients (which is always listed in order of most quantity to least); padding the list with nutritious foods, however these tend to be in such small quantities as to be meaningless.Now don’t be too hard on the food manufacturers. They are trying to give us what we are asking for: foods that are fast, with little to no preparation, aren’t too expensive, that taste good AND are good for us! So they make what we want and feature any positives they can find.

Ultimately, it’s about knowing what we are consuming. If you are craving a bag of Cheetos, then have at it, but don’t allow marketing to fool you into thinking they are better for you if they are baked. Nutritionally speaking, they are almost equally absent of nutrients. Likewise, if you want to treat your kids to fruit snacks, don’t feel guilted into switching those out for a cardboard tasting granola bar (that they probably won’t eat anyway). Just know that they aren’t getting nutrients from that particular snack.

Generally speaking, the best way to eat is to focus on nutrients and not claims of “healthy.” I feel pretty certain that you have an abundant dose of common sense, and a keen eye for it. Work on consuming the most nutrients and minimizing consumption of the other “stuff.” This will help you keep your body in optimal condition – healthy. The FDA has a very helpful guide for reading nutrition labels.4 Be sure to check it out and educate yourself instead of relying on food manufacturers to “educate” us. Knowledge is power!

Your turn! What is your favorite nutrient-rich food? (Mine are sweet potatoes, eggs, blueberries, and black beans). Share yours in the comments section. Have a recipe? Share that, too!

If you would like to work together and develop a plan for living a life by YOUR design, then an Empowerment Session is for you! Take advantage of the complimentary strategy session!

If you’d like special offers, updates, and insider-only goodies, SUBSCRIBE to be a VIP! (It’s free and I won’t blow up your in-box!)

email April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com 

 

 

1 - “Dictionary by Merriam-Webster: America's most-Trusted online dictionary.” Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster, www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary. Accessed 1 Sept. 2017.

2 - Ruhlman, Michael. “No food is healthy. Not even kale.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 17 Jan. 2016, www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/food/no-food-is-healthy-not-even-kale/2016/01/15/4a5c2d24-ba52-11e5-829c-26ffb874a18d_story.html?utm_term=.d18f2fd26b47. Accessed 1 Sept. 2017.

3 - Adams, Mike. “How food manufacturers trick consumers with deceptive ingredients lists.” NaturalNews, 10 July 2007, www.naturalnews.com/021929_groceries_food_products.html. Accessed 1 Sept. 2017.

4 - Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. “Labeling & Nutrition - How to Understand and Use the Nutrition Facts Label.” U S Food and Drug Administration Home Page, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, www.fda.gov/Food/IngredientsPackagingLabeling/LabelingNutrition/ucm274593.htm. Accessed 1 Sept. 2017.

11 Things to Do Instead of Watching TV

I know, the fall lineup is just around the corner and there are so many great shows just waiting to be DVR’d. But, I’d like to offer an alternative. I don’t think many would argue that prolonged TV watching is not good for us. Getting lost in TV shows causes us to be physically inactive, not counting the hand-to-mouth exercise of snacking that often accompanies TV watching. Also, excessive watching can lead to gathering knowledge and opinions based on what others are saying. We aren’t using our own critical thinking with a mix of sources and facts to determine our own viewpoints. These are just a few of the reasons this inactive activity is not very good for us.

So, what can you do instead?  Here are some entertaining options to consider instead:

  • Read a book – This can include listening to an audio book as well. Both fiction and non-fiction have benefits. How is this different from watching a story told in my favorite series? For one, it improves your vocabulary. You are much more likely to slow down and process a word you are unfamiliar with when reading compared to when watching TV. Also, as there are no actors or directors creating every image for you, you engage your imagination and develop your own images and ideas.
  • Do a puzzle – Puzzles are FUN! The whole family can participate and they are a fantastic stress reliever. This activity forces both sides of our brain to communicate. The left side focuses on the individual pieces are tries to sort them into a logical order. The right brain focuses on the bigger picture. This activity helps to improve our short-term memory, and releases a nice dose of dopamine each time we properly place a piece.
  • Organize something – This could be a junk drawer, a stack of photos, or that basket of junk mail on the counter. This will make you feel accomplished and productive and will no doubt remind you to take care of something you’ve long forgotten about.
  • Play a game – Cards, board games, even memorization games related to kids’ homework creates a group activity that engages everyone. Using memory, strategy, and imagination are more cognitively stimulating than TV. These also tend to keep our hands too busy to munch on goodies.
  • Set goals – Whether creating a to-do list for tomorrow or giving thought to what you’d like to accomplish in the next five years, spend time setting goals. Start with a goal, then break it down into smaller pieces and milestones that you can start working on immediately.
  • Personal Development – While the internet can be as much of a mind-suck as TV, if you discipline yourself to stay focused, it can be a great benefit. Search up classes or blogs that address an area of personal development you’d like to work on. This will help you surround yourself with tips and techniques to get working on that area.
  • Professional Development – Deep dive into articles that can sharpen your skills professionally. You can also connect with others in the same field through LinkedIn or local networking groups. It can be difficult to find time during working hours to do this, but this can set you apart from your peers and make you more valuable. It also allows you the opportunity to share articles of interest with others you’d like to stay professionally connected with.
  • Get physical – You knew this was coming. A spin class, yoga dvd, or a walk after dinner are much more beneficial to you than the latest episode of your favorite show.
  • Catch up with a friend or relative – Life can get away from us, causing us to lose touch with those we care about. A nice chat over the phone or Skype will feel much better than that TV program.
  • Take a class – This can be an adult education class, a class at your local craft store, or any other interesting way to learn something new. There are so many options out there. You can meet new people and have fun learning.
  • Join a group – You know I’m a lover of Toastmasters, but there are plenty of other organizations that would love to have you. Church groups, reading groups, hiking groups. The list goes on and on. Again, you’ll meet new people and expose yourself to new ideas and activities.

To be clear, sometimes watching TV is great way to relax and unwind. It can also be a great form of entertainment. But several hours of just TV watching most nights, is doing more harm than good. You deserve more goodness in your life, so stretch yourself and try one of these other activities instead.

I KNOW there are more than 11 things to do instead of watching TV, so won’t you share one? Tell us in the comments section something else you think would be a great replacement, or share why one of the 11 listed is a favorite of yours!

If you would like to work together and develop a plan for living a life by YOUR design, then an Empowerment Session is for you! Take advantage of the complimentary strategy session!

If you’d like special offers, updates, and insider-only goodies, SUBSCRIBE to be a VIP! (It’s free and I won’t blow up your in-box!)

email April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com 

Why Little Things Matter

I just finished reading the book, 13 Reasons Why. I know I’m a little late to the party as the book was published several years ago and Netflix has since come out with a very popular series based on it, but I’m beginning to see what all the hype was about it. For those who aren’t familiar with this story, it’s based on a teen girl who commits suicide and sends a set of recordings to the people who contributed to her decision to end her life. In addition to the acclaim this fictional story has received, there’s been plenty of backlash from people feeling that the story glamorizes teen suicide. I understand this perspective, but have found deep value in one of the core messages of the book – little things matter.

In the tapes, the victim shares how little actions led to bigger repercussions for her. One example is how a “typical” high school joke snowballed into a bad reputation for this new-to-town girl. I’m not here to provide a detailed book review, nor will I be delving into the deep-rooted issues that face our youth today. The aspect of the book that I think we all can relate to is how impactful small things can be. An unkind word, a cold shoulder, inconsiderate behavior that may be small in the scheme of things, but can have a lasting impact on us.

We are in such a divisive state as a country right now. We are focused on so many big, important happenings, and that’s good. But these can often leave us feeling small, powerless, and overwhelmed. That’s not to say, of course, that we shouldn’t try to work on the big issues, but we also shouldn’t lose sight of the little, seemingly less important issues of human interaction. A smile, a kind word, a hug. These little actions can make a lasting impact.

In reading 13 Reasons Why, I felt for the victim, but I also felt for some of those people she called out in her recordings. Many of the behaviors were inconsiderate, and, most of the time, unintentionally hurtful.  I have unintentionally hurt people many times throughout my life, many occasions I’m sure I’m not aware of to this day. That’s the unintentional part. But just because I didn’t mean to hurt someone, doesn’t mean I’m totally off the hook. Last week I talked about living more fully in the present, and this is a perfect example. If we can focus on getting out of our head’s and being present with our interactions, we are less likely to miss the cues others are sending us.

As lovely as it would be to donate hundreds of dollars to important causes, donate hours every week to worthy events, or attend rallies to support a view we believe in, those aren’t the only ways to make a difference. Offering a smile to someone who you expect usually doesn’t get one, complimenting a service worker, thanking a vet, leaving a message for someone to let them know you’re thinking of them and they matter to you – these are all small ripples that may become exactly what someone clings to in order to get through a tough day.  These little things matter.

So, the next time you think you aren’t making a difference, think about what little actions you could take to brighten someone’s day. You may never know what that small, kind gesture means to someone, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t made a very powerful impact.

What’s a small action someone took that really made a difference to you or one that you know had the potential to impact someone else’s? Share in the comments.

If you would like to work together and develop a plan for living a life by YOUR design, then an Empowerment Session is for you! Take advantage of the complimentary strategy session!

If you’d like special offers, updates, and insider-only goodies, SUBSCRIBE to be a VIP! (It’s free and I won’t blow up your in-box!)

email April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com 

Past, Present & Future – How to Make Time for All Three

Goal-setting is exciting business to me. So is looking back and reflecting on my actions and behaviors. Both of these involve focusing on either my future, or my past, neither of which is bad, but if I’m not careful, I may forget to give my now, appropriate attention. All three of these work together, and spending too much time outside our Present can get us into trouble.

The Past – Each bit of time we spend reliving or replaying something from our past is Present time we’ve lost. Some past puzzles will never be figured out, and only you can determine when it’s time to put a puzzle away. Ask yourself if your reflection on the past is bringing you joy or helping you to understand a situation better. If it isn’t doing either of these, you should probably consider letting it go. Often, reflections on the past help us to keep a memory alive. This is great if it’s a positive memory, but less so if it’s a negative one, like when someone did us wrong, or we screwed up or missed an opportunity. Replaying these do little to nothing to improve our Present or our Future, so consider moving on. Time in our Past is best spent on things that bring us joy, or situations we can learn from to improve our Present or Future.

The Present – This period of time is so often taken for granted until it’s gone. There is so much goodness to be found in the Present. It can also be very peaceful when we force ourselves to focus on it. This is often precisely what I have to do when I’m walking. When I’m on a walk, I often replay things from the past, or envision my future. However, then I’m missing my beautiful surroundings. Recently, while walking, I was thinking of a situation that really irked me. As I was walking, I was both replaying this situation (Past) and imagining the different ways it could turn out (Future). When I pulled my attention back to the present, I realized I had walked by beautiful flowers and trees without even noticing them. I tuned out the sound of the birds chirping and the light wind on my face – I was completely ignoring all of these gifts from Mother Nature while playing in my Past and Future. Moments, I’ll never get back. Focus on finding the good in your Present. It’s there – just look. Being grateful for what is in your Present life is a great way to prepare yourself for good things in your Future life.

The Future – I geek out over goal-setting! That feeling of progress and accomplishment provides its own high. It doesn’t matter if it’s a small or large goal – it’s fun to be reaching for something. The Future is important because it gives us something to work towards and strive for. Life may throw curve balls our way, but we can deal with those in our Present. The future is all about what we desire and making every effort to make it happen. This, too, requires reflecting on both our Past, and taking action in our Present.

Making time for reflection on our Past, appreciation for our Present, and goals for our Future is important. Check-in with yourself each day to ensure you are spending quality time in each area, while striving to spend the majority of your time in the Present.

Share in the comments how you make time for each of the three – Past, Present & Future.

If you would like to work together and develop a plan for living a life by YOUR design, then an Empowerment Session is for you! Take advantage of the complimentary strategy session!

If you’d like special offers, updates, and insider-only goodies, SUBSCRIBE to be a VIP! (It’s free and I won’t blow up your in-box!)

email April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com