Challenge Accepted (and accomplished) : Goal Achievement Part I of infinity

How many of you know or remember the show “The Weekenders”? If you don’t know, this was an American Disney animated television series that centered on the weekend life of four seventh graders: Tino, Lor, Carver and Tish. This show recently popped into my mind after setting my monthly goals. After realizing that New Year’s resolutions do not stick, I decided to research and achieve monthly goals as they are known to be more beneficial. As soon as I thought about doing this I remembered a particular episode of the Weekenders when the teens go to a motivational speaker who is 12 years old. He had gotten very successful at the age of 8 (or something) and became a young entrepreneur. With his odd demeanour he told the crowd in order to be successful you had to 1) Pick a goal and 2) work work work work! (exact words). So with that in mind, I set out to do so. After choosing my said goals I soon realized I had set a major undertaking. Ten goals was maybe a wee bit much. Nonetheless I had set them and I was going to stick to them. Oh my.

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Me looking very sheepish about my goals 

  1. Stay offline 1 day per week

This was tough. If you have seen my twitter you will know why this one was hard for me. I am constantly reading online articles as I love to broaden my perspective so staying offline without access to my buzzfeed dog GIFs was hard. I only was able to accomplish this a couple times (not counting the internet I have to use at work). I see the idea behind it. We all spend too much time in front of a screen instead of doing other more meaningful activities so I think instead of cutting out internet it may be good to just put the phones and computer down and actually go outside and enjoy nature. When I lived in Sweden I went for a nature hike every day for an hour, it was so good for the soul. I’m getting back into that again after doing this experiment.

 

nowifi

 

  1. Read 20 pages of a novel per day

This was one I really wanted to get into. Like all students, we study for years and years and by the time graduation comes we do not want to look at a book ever again, regardless of the topic. Or if we do, we can’t get passed the first chapter. I was definitely in that state until this month. I made it my priority to go to the book store and find some books I have really wanted to get into. It was so nice to finally be able to read and stay focused and interested. I bought Mindy Kaling’s books and they are such a good read. A very good starting point for someone like me. I needed something engaging, light and entertaining and Mindy Kaling definitely hits home. I highly recommend her books (she has 3) and if you’re back from your nature hike I recommend her show The Mindy Project, it’ll change your life. Oops…I’m supposed to be reading, dang it. Baby steps.

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I would love for all my books to be able to lay open while I read them so I can also eat nachos

  1. Exercise 4 times a week

Okay I’ve been a bit of a crazy with the whole fitness thing. I joined the local YMCA and started going to the gym but could only get there about 2 times a week. Not bad, but not great either. I really want to get in shape for my friend’s wedding this year and also my wedding as well next year so 2 days a week would not cut it. I stepped it up a notch by going to a trainer so they could make a plan for me, and that was a great success! I enjoy having a plan for when I go to the gym and I feel less self-conscious because there are others that go who have the same trainer as me and we all do the same silly looking lunges and breathing techniques. We cool.

To change up my exercise regime I added in some recreational sports which has been so much fun! I took up tennis recently and it’s a lot of fun. I’m hoping to develop my Serena Williams like grunt by the end of the summer. I have also signed up for softball which starts in May. I’m practicing my Bautista bat flip as we speak.

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don’t let them fool you

  1. Eat more veggies

Ugh, this one was dreadful. Nothing makes you more hungry than munching on gross raw veggies, but apparently they are the most nutritious. I much prefer cooked veggies but sometimes it’s not feasible for every meal. Off I went to the grocery store to buy as much as I could. Some of them I had never even heard of. My fiancé doesn’t help matters as I will pull lettuce into the cart and he will look at me funny and say “what’s this? What’s la-tooch-eh?” Thanks babe for having my back.

The only way I seemed to really enjoy lots of veggies was by making a stir fry. Stir frys are so delicious and nutritious especially with a little tzatziki on the side. I even got to make a garlic shrimp and chicken recipe which is now one of our favorites.

The lesson learned here was you aren’t always going to like what all those stick models are eating these days, but don’t cut out too much and eat just celery all day. It has to be a balance. Veggies are an important part of a diet and healthy lifestyle, but everything in moderation. You have to learn how to prepare foods the way you like, so that you will actually enjoy what you’re eating. Look up various recipes and start experimenting!

 

See below for my tasty stir fy:

Shrimp and Chicken Stir Fry

 

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons margarine
  • 3 cloves garlic, mashed
  • 1 pound medium frozen cooked shrimp,
  • 1-2 chicken breasts cooked
  • Few dashes of salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced parsley
  • Red, green, yellow pepper
  • 2 cups white rice
  • Tzatziki (as much as you want)

 

Directions

 

In one pan, cook chicken breasts until they are well done. In a separate large skillet, Heat 2 tbsp. margarine over medium heat. Add garlic; cook for 2 minutes. Add in peppers and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Add shrimp and 1/2 tsp. salt; cook over medium-high heat for 4 minutes. Off heat, stir in remaining margarine and parsley and chicken. Cook rice in separate pot and add to stir fry once it is done. Serve with Tzatziki sauce. Enjoy!

 

  1. Send cards and letters to family and friends

I am working on this, I am so sorry friends and family. I will hopefully get my act together and send my favourite people their well-deserved cards and letters written under candle light and sealed with wax. If only I had an owl that could deliver it quickly like in Harry Potter. A howler would be my style because people say I yell when I talk. Stay tuned all.

 

  1. Create photo albums

Okay, I’ve realized that printing photos is very expensive. This I think will be a gradual process.

 

  1. Watch positive documentaries

 

This was really hard to get into at first, especially if you are trying to find a good positive documentary on Netflix. They are all mostly depressing ones. The worst part is the descriptions of the documentaries because they are so brief you have no clue what it’s about. I saw one with the description that said and thought “Oh this might be nice”. Instead it was about people who were physically impaired from getting hit by drivers when they were texting. Hell no. I really wanted something uplifting so no way was I watching Black Fish.

 

I ended up finding a couple neat documentaries everyone should check out. I watched Twinsters first which is on Canadian Netflix at the moment. Oh my gosh the cutest twins I’ve ever seen in my life. I want to be friends with them. It’s about two Korean twin sisters who were separated at birth and adopted. One girl was adopted by a family in United States and the other France. The story shows how they find each other and how their lives change. I highly recommend it.

 

The other documentary I watched was called Happy. It basically talks about happiness and how to be happy and shows some of the happiest places on earth. It was very uplifting. A must watch.

 

  1. Go swimming

I did really well with swimming at the local pool in the fall, but have not been able to make it this winter and early spring. I much prefer swimming in the lake or ocean as there is no schedule to tell me when I can and cannot swim, but yet again then I have to deal with sharks, jellyfish and leeches. The YMCA it is!

 

  1. Read more about Buddhism and the Buddhist perspective

I have recently been introduced to Buddhism by a friend of mine and have wanted to read more about it. I recently discovered the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh and his books are absolutely incredible and life changing. I highly recommend all of his books (though  I have yet to read them all). Reading his books have helped me to be less stressed, live more in the present and truly enjoy every moment life has to offer and not take anything for granted. I encourage you to read his books.

library

this is what I look like when I find out the library book I want is checked out

  1. Go to the library and check out books

The library in my town is awful. It’s closed on Sundays and closes at 5 most weekdays. I can never get there. I wish chapters had a library version, that way you had access to way better books with multiple copies rather than being on the wait list for a book. I just want to read Pretty Little Liars without having to wait six months, is that too much to ask!?

 

All in all I think I did pretty well on this major undertaking. I realized having ten goals a month is too much, so I think I will limit to 3 per month so it is more attainable. I hope you all have set goals for yourself, because it will really make a huge difference in your year, and by the time New Year’s come you can reflect on all the great things you have accomplished. Seize the day! Our time is now.

Until next time 😉

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New Year’s Resolutions No More

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Who doesn’t love New Year’s Eve? It’s a chance to go out with friends and family, sip some champagne, kiss your sweetie and let’s not forget celebrate the past year and what is to come! With new years comes a sense of a new beginning. A way to start the year fresh and think of all the things we want to accomplish. So what do we do? We set an incredible pressure on ourselves to accomplish what we have been putting off for years. Yes I’m talking about new year’s resolutions. We all do it. We feel we’ve pack on the pounds, haven’t finished that book, or maybe slacked at work or at school. Whatever it is, we feel guilty and thus the resolutions appear and they are extremely hard to keep.

Ever notice that as soon as January 1st hits, there are way more people at your gym than ever? As horrible as it sounds, I wait to go to the gym once January passes and February arrives, as that’s when it slows down again. Why? Because all of those people set their resolution to incorporate more exercise in their daily routine. It’s a tough thing to stick to with all of our busy schedules, but yet without fail every year by February, the gym population slows down.

The problem with setting a major goal like that is that it’s extremely hard to achieve right off the get go. I’ve been there. I wanted to be healthier and exercise so I signed up for an expensive gym membership and my momentum didn’t last long either.

What was key for me to my success was setting multiple short term realistic goals for each month rather than 1 huge goal for the year.  It kept me motivated and I felt less pressured and frustrated in the end.

This perspective works for anything you want to accomplish, not just going to the gym.

However for example say you did want to be more fit and healthy you could set your goal to be:

  • Go to the gym 2 times a week or go for a half hour walk every day
  • Eat more vegetables this month
  • Cut out sugar and fast food

This is more attainable and you will feel great and really see your progress. Keeping a journal is a great way to monitor your goal achievement.

What I like to do is set monthly goals that are all different. It’s nice to have variety of different things.

I hope to accomplish the following goals for the month of April and report on my success!

  1. Stay offline 1 day per week
  2. Read 20 pages of a novel every day
  3. Exercise 4 times a week
  4. Eat more veggies
  5. Send cards and letters to family and friends
  6. Create photo albums
  7. Watch positive documentaries
  8. Go swimming
  9. Read more about Buddhism and Buddhist perspective
  10. Go to the library and check out books

 

Now that my list is complete, what’s stopping you from creating yours?

I have anxiety for no reason

Every day you hear about crazy stories in the news. Something heart breaking about a family losing a loved one in a tragic accident, or a poor family losing everything they had because of warfare. It’s hard to believe the stories I hear sometimes. It almost makes me feel like my problems are insignificant; realizing I haven’t really struggled in comparison to others. It’s definitely true.  I was lucky to grow up to a middle class family, two older sisters, parents who have been together for 35 years that never drank, did drugs or threw me out on the street. I had many opportunities most didn’t, like education, chance to travel, meet new people and I was lucky to come out of those opportunities having low debt, successful relationships and career, as well as memories to last a lifetime. On top of that I live in a safe secure country.  Therefore, what could I possibly ever complain about?

I always felt guilty for experiencing depression and anxiety because there was really no cause or reason as to why I was feeling that way. It was frustrating to not have any answers as to why.  After a while I had to realize that mental illness doesn’t have to have a reason to be present. It will show up unexpectantly and the only thing we can do is accept it and find a solution for ourselves.  Everyone has their own problems and is affected by mental illness differently. Therefore we all need treatment plans that fit us individually. We can’t feel guilty for our feelings, we just have to take charge and understand we are all human and that we all will go through ups and downs no matter if you come from poverty or prosperity. What will help us overcome mental health problems is by seizing the day and finding a solution that works for us. It’s important to understand that there are others out there who struggle. Having compassion for others is definitely very important, but we also need to have compassion for ourselves. Feel fortunate for what you have and move forward for a better you and a better life. It’s all about perspective.

Slow and Steady Wins the Race: Going your own pace to find personal success

dont-go-fast

As kids we were exposed to many Aesop fables that all had a moral at the end of the story. One that I’m sure most are familiar with is the story of the Tortoise and the Hare. The two compete in a race and in the end the tortoise wins. The moral of the story was that slow and steady wins the race. This moral has recently grabbed my attention because this is key to anyone who is trying to accomplish their goals.

In my case, I started university in 2008 and ended up taking ten months off due to being ill with mononucleosis. Doing this made me feel frustrated  because I wanted to finish my degree the “normal” way (in four years), like my friends were doing.  Once I recovered from mono I ended up transferring schools and starting a new program, which basically meant starting from scratch. In addition to starting a new program, I enrolled in the co-operative education program which meant prolonging graduation in order to complete 3 work terms. Then on top of that I decided to study abroad in Sweden for six months.

Yes I took six years instead of four to complete my degree, but in the end I gained so much. Transferring schools and switching programs from History to Human Resources was smart as I wanted to study something that was in demand and that I could get a job upon graduation. Completing three work terms allowed me to gain real life work experience in my field and the professional world, which helped me to obtain the position I currently have. Studying abroad opened my world and gave me a new perspective and allowed me to meet new friends. Taking six years didn’t burden me at all, it did the opposite. I gained so much success by going at my pace and not worrying about what others were doing. Everyone is different and everyone has different circumstances. Doing what is right for you, in your own way is all you need to focus on.

I feel everything happens for a reason, and we need to take what life gives us and learn from it and use it to our advantage. I seized every opportunity that came my way and worked hard to be where I am today. The next time you feel down on yourself because you haven’t accomplished your goal don’t fret. Take the time to make a plan and stick with it. Ignore what others are doing and see the bigger picture. Forward is forward. We all live our own lives, and we should do what is best for us. There should be no normal way. Keep going and eventually you will find success.

photo credit http://speakingautism.ca/slow-and-steady-wins-the-race/

3 keys for a successful happy life

We go through life everyday all wanting the same thing. Whether we are rich, poor, overweight or thin, we all wish for one thing – a happy, fulfilled life. This is something that is not easily achieved as life throws us many challenges through every stage of our lives. But how do we overcome the obstacles, make the right choices and be successful and happy? This is something I have been thinking about for months now.

It all sparked when I read an article from the weather network that spoke about happiness and the percentage of Canadians that felt “pretty happy” with their lives. It got me thinking and wondering about my life and what I could do to lead a happy life. There are many things that can be challenging to a person that can make it difficult for them to feel happy. Whether its mental or physical illness, grief, rejection, failure; how do we see the big picture and realize what we can do to put a smile on our faces?

After months of reading, researching and self-reflection I’ve come to realize it’s all about perspective, perseverance and defining your potential.

First, we need to change our perspective. Sure we may be unhappy now, but we have the power to change that. It all comes down to the mono perspective. Life is what we, as individuals make it. You can’t always know what life is going to throw your way, but by developing a positive mindset, we can accomplish anything. The next time you have a frown on your face, force yourself to smile, I can guarantee you will feel better and be able to reflect on the situation and find a solution for yourself.

Second, no matter how hard things get we need to persevere. It sometimes is so hard to keep going and reach our goals, but once you accomplish that goal it’s the most amazing feeling. A study was done in New York recently where researchers asked people on the streets what their biggest regrets were. The people all had different things to say, but the one thing they all had in common was that they more so regretted things they DID NOT do rather than the things they did do. That says a lot. We need to seize every opportunity that comes our way, and if the opportunity doesn’t present itself, we need to make the opportunity for ourselves.  Sometimes the reason we don’t do something is because we lack confidence, or the time, money or even the strength to do it, but this is where perseverance comes in. Do you think Leonardo DiCaprio would have gotten where he is today by giving up? Acting is an extremely hard profession to be successful in, but these people persevered. They didn’t give up no matter how many rejections they got, and in the end they came out successful. Anything is possible if you have positive thinking and perseverance.

Lastly, is defining and reaching our full potential. We need to define for ourselves what our true potential looks like. We don’t have to sit on the sidelines and let life decide. We have the full power to make our future our own. In order to do this we have to have confidence in ourselves, be positive, set goals, and define our hopes and dreams. By doing so we will make a life for ourselves that is happy and successful. Having success doesn’t mean you have to have the biggest and best of everything. It means that you accomplished realistic goals that fit for you and your lifestyle. As long as you are happy with yourself and your results by the end of your journey, that is all that matters.

So put your life right now in perspective. See the good there is in every day, and realize life is what you make it. Persevere and set goals for yourself so you have no regrets in life. Reach your full potential by realizing what your hopes and dreams are. Doing these 3 things will help you find yourself and in the end hopefully make you the happiest you could ever be.

 

Helpful Links on how to be positive, persevere and reach full potential:

http://www.wikihow.com/Persevere

http://www.wikihow.com/Achieve-Your-Full-Potential

http://www.wikihow.com/Be-Positive

Interesting Articles

http://www.theweathernetwork.com/news/articles/survey-most-canadians-pretty-happy-see-whos-happiest/63052

http://aplus.com/a/clean-slate-blackboard-experiment

LOL

lol

photo credit -theguardian.com

We have all been there. You are feeling pumped up and confident one morning and then you go about your day and run into a jerk who makes you want to explode with anger. It can be anyone at anytime….co workers, family, friends boyfriend or girlfriend…it doesn’t matter, the same feelings arise. But no matter, when I’m starting to feel like exploding these days I instead laugh it off.

It definitely doesn’t necessarily mean completely letting go of your feelings and ignoring the act the negative nelly just committed, it means taking in a perspective that no one is going to break me down today. It still means you kick butt and be assertive but at the same time keeping a positive attitude and realizing is this really a big deal? Why do we let people bother us! If we feel good about ourselves WHO CARES ABOUT ANYONE ELSE? Use your judgement. Even if it’s you that’s being a jerk and some one calls you out, just apologize and laugh it off, don’t feel angry or guilty for how you acted or how you were corrected…it can go both ways for any situation.

Family is the toughest because sometimes it seems that they aren’t always on your side but in reality they feel comfortable enough to say whatever to you because let’s face it, family is forever. Do you want to be estranged from that annoying sister or cocky brother? I’m not saying you need to be best friends, but in the end you gotta keep the peace. No one wants to be without family…you stick with them for the good and the bad, but the key is to make your presence known, peacefully. Don’t let them push you around or belittle your dreams. Your family is just looking out for you…and if they say you can’t do something don’t make a fuss, just PROVE THEM WRONG!
Friends come and go, but you always have some friends that no matter what they do you will always be friends, so it’s about choosing friends that are good for you and letting go of the ones who really add no benefit or joy in your life. I have many friends of all shapes and sizes and cultures and languages. We are all so different with different upbringings, education families etc. But even when they dont text me back or they’re quite busy for the next month or so doesn’t mean they don’t care. Sometimes we talk every day, sometimes if might be a month til we talk….I don’t care, because when we do talk its as if no time has passed and they are still the greatest friend in the world. I look for friends who are supportive, good listeners, interested in my life and also have ambitions.
It’s hard to find these types of people that you can rely on, but once you do hold on to them! You and your friends may not always be on the same page 100% of the time, but you know when you have a close friend when they say “What the heck did you just say?” lol….

 

We have to take people for what they are, we can’t change people and we can’t change who we are as a person. If someone you know criticizes you or are not understanding of your feelings….oh well. Speak your peace, but let it go.

Keep this in mind, simple as can be….we are entitled to our own feelings. You can feel what you want, and they can feel what they want….nothing more to it than that. Express it, get past it, laugh it off. Don’t let people tell you your feelings are wrong. They can’t decide that. At the end of the day, they are not you and they are not living your life.
We live our lives our way, and no one else should dictate our wants and dreams or feelings, but unfortunately this is the world we live in. The only thing we can do is be confident and secure in ourselves…lol can also mean lots of love.
So feel good about yourself, keep good relationships close, laugh off the haters and find what makes you happy and go with it.
 LOL – LOVE OF LIFE!

Less mess is best! The first step in overcoming mental illness

There are many ways to improve our mental health. Some ways work better or differently for others, but once you find what works for you, it’s golden. Sometimes when you are so down it’s hard to want to go out and exercise or finish homework, but sometimes the last thing we want to do that day is what we need most. Easier said than done though right!?

It comes down to our own personal strength. We might not be able to always feel 100% but our strength is what gets us through each day (and I think that is impressive!) We face what seems impossible every day! That cheers me up in itself.
The first thing I always do when I’ve had a few weeks of down in the dumps is to get re organized. I’m great at being organized for the most part, but then when life gets busy its easy to just toss your stuff on the nearest table. But then you end up with clutter which just makes you feel ugh!
The key and start to a good mental health kick is to have a clean, organized environment. I always recruit my mum sometimes to help me with my spring cleaning and de cluttering! If you have that someone who will help, it’s great and more fun. You get to spend time together and it feels less like an annoying task.
Here are some of the best ways to be organized that I have found helpful!
How to be organized at school:

How to be organized at work:

http://www.wikihow.com/Get-Organized-and-Concentrate-on-Your-Work

http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/242359http://money.howstuffworks.com/business/starting-a-job/5-tips-for-getting-organized-at-work.htm#page=5

Organized in general or at home:

http://www.womansday.com/home/organizing-cleaning/tips/a109/100-ways-to-get-organized/

http://www.buzzfeed.com/twopoodles/ways-to-keep-all-the-small-things-in-your-life-spe-9g24#.rdVrqzE4Z

http://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/how-organize-your-life-10-habits-really-organized-people.html

http://www.wikihow.com/Keep-Your-Room-Organizedhttp://www.wikihow.com/Deep-Clean-and-Organize-Your-Room

http://www.wikihow.com/Keep-a-Bedroom-Tidy

There you go! It’s good to find what works for you, so find out your own ways to be organized and share away! We have to stick together! 🙂

Enjoy!

– Monomeg