Saturday, November 23, 2013

Laying More Bricks - One at a time :)

"And once the storm is over, you won't remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won't even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain  When you come out of the storm, you won't be the same person who walked in. That's what the storm is all about" - Haruki Murakami

Over the past few months I have learned some pretty useful lessons. Some of them I set out to learn and some of them pushed me down and forced me to learn them before I could get back up. Either way I am grateful for the opportunity to learn. Even though I have listed them all below, these are all things you may have to learn for yourself. Someone could have presented me with this list a few months ago, and I may have agreed with them. But know I have the experience to back my knowledge, and fuel my decision making. 

Be with someone who requires your to grow and gives you the space and time to allow you to do so.
Choosing a partner is hard...obviously. Especially because when you choose someone, they may not choose you back. But there is one thing that I have learned and that is the person that you end up with should be someone that requires you and challenges you to grow as an individual. No one is perfect, and usually the person that knows you best is your partner or spouse. There opinion should matter as long as it is coming from a place of good intentions. However, the important thing to realize in this situation is that change does not happen over night. One can not just state the change needed and expect it to happen. It can be a slow moving but beneficial process. If you are with someone that puts forth this challenge for you and steps back and allows you to find your path, then I think he/she is a keeper.

Side note: Love someone, flaws and all. Don't go trying to fix a person, you can't.

Even the people that knocked you down deserve a thank you. 
I saw a quote on Pinterest that really struck a chord with me. It goes "sometimes the painful things can teach us lessons we didn't think we needed to know" - Amy Poehler. This just made me grateful for all the painful things that have happened to me that I didn't appreciate at the time, that I wished were never happening to me. Those situations made me see and learn things that I didn't know before. Most likely I am not going to go up to each person and thank them directly, but I am grateful, which is better then holding resentment towards them.

Unwelcome change can be the best kind of change - It challenges you into personal growth.
I am a creature of habit, so when someone or something forces me into changing I do not generally come with open arms - whether it be pleasant or not. Sometimes it will take just a small nudge to get me going or maybe a full on kick on the butt. However I have come to enjoy this process. It lays out a whole new set of challenges to be faced with and frankly it mixes things up and gives you something more to do.

A constant positive attitude is hard, but will make you feel better and do better. 
Personally I believe keeping a positive attitude will get you through even the hardest of days yet it is not always easy. Sometimes it is just easier to sulk, frown, place blame, go back to sleep or cave when others around you are being negative. But I have found that putting in that extra effort to stay positive is well worth it. Happiness is a choice as they say, and I choose that over the alternative. The decisions I have made while invoking a positive attitude have been far more beneficial. I try to abide my these rules - never make a decision when angry/sad, karaoke car parties when feeling down, don't go to bed angry, say yes to all invitations and smile and laugh with others even when I am not in the mood. These are not all things that I consciously tried to do before but they have really helped. Positivity and negativity are both contagious, which one do you want to be known for passing on?

Other lessons I have learned:

** When you can't help your self, help others - Help will come. 
** When confronted with a problem, first look at your contribution. You can only fix you.
** Surround yourself with people who are where you want to be. Constant inspiration.
** Mistakes are proof that you are trying, so smile through them and try again.
** Find a hobby thats just for you. For me this was Bikram Yoga
** Without friends by your side.....good luck!

may not be, who I ought to be - I know I am not all I want to be..... But I've come a long way, from who I used to be - And I won't give up on becoming what I know I can be!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Talk Proper - My Daily Personal Challenge

"Words not only affect us temporarily--they change us." David Riesman 
For those of you who have had the absolute pleasure of meeting me, you would most definitely agree with me in saying that I love to talk, or ramble on. Now that does not necessarily mean that everything that comes out of my mouth is meaningful, helpful or kind for that matter. And it was not until I started noticing how other peoples words were affecting me that I realized I am most definitely influencing peoples days with what comes out of my mouth. So I thought if I am going to insist on talking to anyone and everyone, I may as well follow the life lesson to only open my mouth when I have something good to say. If not, I will say nothing at all. 

 ``Words have the power to destroy or heal. When words are both true and kind they can change our world``- The Buddha 

Has any one ever said anything to you that forever changed the way you spoke, acted or thought. Many do not realize just careful they need to be with the words that they speak as they have a tremendous ability to heal or hurt. Especially in the world today when swear words, politically incorrect words and hurtful words are thrown around as if they hold no meaning. Everyone already knows that actions speak louder then words, but that does not mean that our words no longer hold meaning and can be used carelessly. As I have been at the wrong end of someones words that have forever changed the way I am, I am deciding to put more stock in my mothers and grandmothers advice - "think before you speak". This can be considered a personal challenge as sometimes things just fly out of my mouth without a thought to slow them down. It might be something as simple as "You're an Idiot", a sentence you probably say every other day to the same person, not realizing the tole it is taking on them. They may not even realize it, until one day they may just believe what it is your saying to them.

I saw a post on my younger cousins Facebook wall and decided to implement it into my life. It is funny the things that the little babies can teach you. I have posted the image below that I found while scrolling through her beautiful selfies. 

I am so proud of her for posting this to her Facebook wall as it is truly inspiring and will forever be imprinted into my memory. Now sometimes when trying to follow these guidelines things may become tricky. The answer may be yes to both "Is it true" and "Is it Kind". So in this instance just remember that there is always a nice/appropriate way to say things without stomping all over peoples feelings.

Try and think about a time where someone said something that stuck with you forever and affected the way you made decisions or acted in a certain situation. This can be either good or bad. Since I have decided that I would only like to have a positive impact on peoples lives from here on forward I took a step back and looked at people have negatively impacted mine. If I can learn from those instances then hopefully that will change me for the better. One scenario that stood out in my mind was when someone close to me told me that they did something to hurt me because they were made at me. His exact response when I asked him why he did that was "because I was mad at you". And without ever realizing it that one sentence forever changed the way I acted and reacted in scenarios when I sensed this person was mad at me. I was unable to walk away from situations until they were "fixed" and everything was in perfect order. You an imagine how annoying that can be! I have turned into the type of person that can`t stand when someone is mad at me and prior to this particular instance most situations would just bounce right off of me. It was not until I was properly able to identify what started me down this path that I was able to overcome those words.

On the flip side of this one of my best friends Gina was able to be on the positive end of someones words that stuck with her. Her mother shared with her some simple words of wisdom that I am sure we have all heard yet it shaped her into the person that she is today. Her mom always repeated to her "If it is meant to be it will" which she said always rang true to her. I think it was these words that made it easier for Gina to walk away from situations knowing what her mom always taught her. And Gina has repeated these words to me in my many moments of panic and trying to fix situations I deemed to be broken.

To wrap it all up I just think it is funny how some simple sayings and words can really stick with people. My mom use to tell me every time she saw me wearing a new piece of clothing, that leaving the hanger strings on a shirt or dress was extremely ghetto. And to this day when I see a girl or a guy forget them on there clothes, I instantly think Ghetto! I pass that advice along to everyone I see falling into that fashion no no. 

So as a personal goal I am going to be more conscious of what is coming out of my mouth and how it may be heard by other people. Nobody wants to be on the wrong end of someones hurtful words, but everyone would love to be on the positive end.

"Make someone smile whenever you can. You never know how much of a difference you are making in their life at that moment"

Dedicated and Inspired by...

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Daily Personal Reminders


 In your everyday life most people have alarms, lists or calendar notifications to remind them of certain things through out the day. Generally these things are important and can not be forgotten, hence the alarm. But most of these things are for medial tasks such as picking the kids up from school, remembering to take medication or for a pre scheduled doctors appointment. But what I have come to realise is that those alarms and notification's can be used in other ways to improve our overall wellbeing.  I have started using the alarm on my phone twice a day to remind me to "Stay Positive and Keep Smiling". It may sound lame at first thought, but I have it set to come at different points in the day and it has literally turned my day around on numerous occasions. I have always been the type of person to hang motivational sayings in and around my house, however when I am not at home I do enjoy the constant reminder. It reminds of the lifestyle I have chosen to live, and until it becomes engrained in my brain and has become a habit, the reminder is appreciated.

I recently discovered another thing that keeps me going throughout the day. Now this is nothing new, but it was new to me and I was very grateful to receive this gift. My mom gave me a gold adjustable bangle that reads "I can do this" - now I am not sure if this gift had any correlation to me telling her that I will only accept positive reinforcement from now on, but the gift came with perfect timing. I immediately told myself I was going to wear it everyday and it helped that I only wear gold jewellery. I took to Google as I figured there must be more where it came from and I came across an amazing website that sells a bunch of them in gold and silver. I just ordered another gold one that reads "Choose Joy". I have attached the link for your reference. The site is called Mantra Bands and I instantly fell in love with there mission statement. It is what separated them from other sites selling similar bands.

"We are on a mission to inspire and empower with positive messages. Because positive thinking leads to a positive and happy life. That's what we want for ourselves and everyone on this planet. We do this by promoting a lifestyle of optimism, positivity, and mindfulness. Mantraband bracelets are made to inspire. They are reminders to choose happiness, to live what you love and to be present in every moment".
 The best part about this site also is that they offer free shipping within North America. I didn't have to think twice about my order. And no I am not being paid to promote their product as I maybe have one follower for this blog.

I am constantly searching for unique ways of infusing positivity into my life. I think that the cell phone alarm and the Mantra band's are perfect as they are not always visible to others yet they are always visible to me.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Positive Habits - Positive Steps

"Feeling sorry for yourself, and your present condition, is not only a waste of energy but the worst habit you could possibly have" - Dale Carnegie

It was not until recently that I learned just how important our habits are. I was unaware of the science behind them and how they affected out everyday lives. But after doing a lot of reading on the subject I noticed that there a plenty of ways you can adjust your habits or reprogram your brain which will infuse positive changes into your life. The best part about this is it is very simple and does not require much effort. The first step would be examining your life as it is now, and asking yourself why you engage in the bad habits that already exist in your life. You can be brutally honest with yourself because explaining this to other people is not necessary. I call this "getting to know yourself, your patterns and your ways". For example: Everyday when I come home I will clean the entire kitchen -

do the dishes from the night before, wash the counters and season the nights dinner. This is generally around 6 or 7 o clock. But come 9 or 10 o clock if there are dishes in the sink, the chances of me getting up to do them are slim to none. When asked by numerous people why this was my answer would generally be "well I hate doing dishes". Logically that makes no sense, because at 6 o clock I have no problem doing them. It wasn't until I read "The Power of Habit" by Charles Duhigg that I was able to understand why that habit had formed in my brain. Now I am not going to get into the science of how habits form in your brain as I am not scientifically inclined and would probably confuse and bore you - however I do suggest reading this book as it is extremely interesting and easy to follow. You can get it on Amazon for cheap, even cheaper on a kindle or kobo. According to this book though this habit had formed because of the "Cue, Routine, Reward and Craving" system that is explained in a few chapters. Here is how the system worked for me:

Cue: Time 6:00 and seeing the pile of dishes in the sink
Routine: cleaning the kitchen and preparing the food
Reward: Eating!!!
Craving: As soon as I saw those dishes I began to feel hungry because I new that once the routine was complete I would be fed.

Come 9 or 10 o clock though, once I was finished eating and the cue was reset (another pile of dirty dishes) there was no reward or craving - so the habit formed that I would leave them until the next day until the whole system started over! Now that I am able to identify how the system works for me and if replace the reward with something else, the cue and the routine can stay the same and a new habit can be formed.

This however is just one small example of how habit can effect you. Positive habits can help implement great changes into your life with a small amount of effort. I have always found it very hard to stick to a healthy diet as the thought of a greasy bacon filled burger would easily derail me. I needed to find a routine that would help make this habit form in my brain. Enter Bikram Yoga. Thanks to my naturally competitive spirit The Bikram Yoga Challenge has successfully helped me change my eating habits. Since I have started the challenge I have replaced a standard burger with a lettuce burger (a burger with lettuce as the bun) and watched other people scarf down McDonald's in front of me - while sitting in the restaurant (if you knew me you would know that this is a great accomplishment as usually I order an extra large fries and will not share). By making Bikram Yoga a habit in my life, positive changes started to occur and new habits were formed without me having to think about it.

Cue: Time (I try to go to the same class everyday - once this habit is deeply ingrained I will not need to go everyday)
Routine: Yoga Class
Reward: The amazing after sweating for 90 hours (it is becoming addictive)
Craving: I have started to look forward to and even crave the intense heat in the room (aka the torture chamber), and the relaxing meditation atmosphere.

The key however is taking it one day at a time. I did not set out to become a Bikram Master - I told myself tomorrow I am going to go to Yoga and when I accomplished that I felt good! And then the next day I said to myself "Tomorrow I am going to go back to Yoga" and I did and it felt awesome. The next day I set out to improve my yoga experience - therefor adding onto the previous goal I had set for myself - so I said to myself "tomorrow I am going to go to yoga and not eat foods that will upset my stomach during class". You can see where I am going with this, I slowly built a wall, formed a habit, by laying one brick at a time. Since starting this challenge I have now made it a habit to drink 3-4 litres of water every day, attend class everyday, eat balanced non processed food diet, and relax my shoulders while sitting at my computer desk. I am only two weeks into this challenge and the above list is starting to become second nature to me.

The following except Is from a fellow blogger quoting "The Power of Habit" - The Blog is by Jason Shen

Fostering a new positive habit reaps many benefits

By developing a new positive habit, such as regular exercise, a meditation practice or making your bed in the morning, you will immediately reap the direct benefits of the new habit. On top of this you will also increase your willpower and naturally implement better behaviors across many aspects of your life, including health and social activities.
To put more crisp through the example of developing your exercise habit Charles Duhigg writes:

“Typically, people who exercise, start eating better and becoming more productive at work. They smoke less and show more patience with colleagues and family. They use their credit cards less frequently and say they feel less stressed. Exercise is a keystone habit that triggers widespread change.”

So in summary what you should do after carefully examining your current behaviour process - identify something you would like to accomplish. The goal itself may to be big to tackle all at once, so take one step and back think of the tiny puzzle pieces that will put together that goal. You will only frustrate yourself if you start with a goal you do not believe you can achieve. You need to believe it or it will never happen! Start with one of the puzzle pieces- put it on your dream board and from there everything will fall into place. This falls directly inline with the "Action" part of The Law of Attraction. You need to take steps towards your goals. Your dream board is the first step, now here is the second. If you want to be a Bikram master first put Bikram himself on your dream board, then start attending classes - the 'how' will sort itself out.

"Just because you can't see the end of the highway, doesn't mean you can't get to it. So start your ignition and drive" - Me