Put It In Writing!
"The secret of getting ahead is getting started." -Mark Twain
Have you ever had trouble starting something? Do you keep making the same goals over and over? With the beginning of a new year, come new goals, new hope, new dreams, and new possibilities. I'm sure so many of us have the yearly, cliché resolution of losing weight, hitting the gym, and getting healthy (myself included!). I'm sure everyone is sick of hearing it! So why not prove it? Why not actually do it? Some of us have specific goals or timetables we are trying to reach. Some set very simple tasks for themselves, which seem easier to reach. Others make very general goals, never putting a deadline on themselves. Many, although we are all probably guilty, say they are going to do something or finally set out to accomplish their dream but never seem to finish. One easy and very important step so many are forgetting is to put all of these tasks, goals, and dreams IN WRITING! The writing part can come in many forms these days thanks to technology. There are three important parts of our lives we should start putting in writing and holding ourselves accountable each day, which are: to-do lists, goals, and daily logs.
Regardless of whether you are a doctor, teacher, homemaker, unemployed, retired, or a student, we all have things we need to get done everyday. It doesn't matter if you're single, dating, engaged, or married! It's universal. There are things that need to get done at work, home, with family and friends, finances, organization, and cleaning. The beauty of a to-do list is it works for everything, yes EVERYTHING! If you like to make lists on paper and cross them off as you go, it is always effective if you stick to it. If you prefer the modern-day tech convenience of an app on your phone or tablet, this also works well. One example of an app I've used personally is called Todo. On the app, lists can be made with designated due dates, checklists, categories, etc. As each item is done, paid, or taken care of, simply click it, and it vanishes from the list!
Some goals are made for five years, a year, a month, six months, a week, or even a day. Despite the length of time it may take to try to accomplish a specific goal, the important part is to make them. Don’t just say you have a goal. Write down the goals, even if it’s for a day, maybe a set of tasks to accomplish, or every day. To avoid making your goals seem like another to-do list, make it center around making yourself better as a person. Maybe you’d include: taking ten minutes to meditate, connecting with three people you haven’t talked to in awhile, or setting aside quality time with your significant other. All of the examples are things that can be done in a day and are goals centered around making you and your relationships better, even if it’s the relationship with yourself. The same process holds true for the long-term goals months or years away. No matter what they are or how many you make, either handwrite it, use an app, type it, or make a goal board on a bulletin board, chalkboard, or marker board. The fridge is even a good place, where they can be seen everyday!
Daily logs can involve many different topics. Often we think of using a log to help track something, but it can also be a way of quickly and easily documenting different areas of your life. Again, there are many apps for this, depending on the topic. You can also use a journal, create a document on the computer, or just use a simple spiral notebook. Different topics may be done different ways. Many people, including myself, track food and exercise by using an app. If you’re looking for a really good app for this area of your life, I’d highly recommend MyFitnessPal! I know health and weight loss is typically the first thing people think of when they think of keeping a log. It shouldn’t only be for this one area, and you should keep more than one log. If you’ve never considered starting a happiness log, I would suggest trying it. One way is to put down a certain number of happy thoughts from the day, maybe just one, or maybe three each day. Another idea is to write a gratitude log or journal. It is similar to tracking happy thoughts, but for this one, write three things you are grateful for each day. Most people find it best to do this first thing in the morning or last thing before bed.
Since you have some ideas now, you may still be wondering why you need to put all of this in writing. You can say something a million times, promise yourself you want to get better at something, and tell five or ten people you are planning to start doing a particular project. How often do you follow through? It really makes a differece to see the words there in front of you. Do it in a way in which you will see it each day. Again, with technology, it’s so much more convenient and often helpful to do these things using apps, computer programs, and websites. Go on, give it a try! Make that list, set of goals, or create a log!
Keeping the Peace in the Workplace
Is there more drama at the workplace than actual work? If you find yourself feeling stressed when you leave work, it could be the environment and not the job. Everyone has found herself/himself caught in social dilemmas and drama at work. It seems some people thrive on the social happenings of their job. There are those who: always seem mad at someone, or everyone, those who talk about everyone, and those who just want to keep the peace. Sometimes, it seems like it can become so stressful and consuming enough to distract from an employee’s responsibilities and goals. The type of job is irrelevant. The social issues of the workplace are everywhere and impact both men and women. Let’s take a look at the three types of people in the workplace and how to handle each.
The “Mad” Employee
We’ve probably all worked with someone who always seems mad at somebody or gets annoyed/snappy way too easily. What did you do to this person to get on his/her bad side? The answer is: probably nothing. This person will never be too happy with decisions made, responses people give, or new ideas or employees. The best way to handle someone you may never make happy or who will never seem to like you is: Kill them with kindness. It is hard to treat someone poorly or be overly negative to a person who is always nice, optimistic, or complimentary. This doesn’t mean go overboard to the point of sucking up! Stay focused on your own responsibilities, and remain nice to everyone. You’ll find others will have at least a little bit of a harder time being “mad” at you, even if you haven’t done anything to them.
The “talks about everyone” Employee
Yes, we all know this one well. You might not be the topic of the gossip this person is stirring, but you’ve most likely heard the rumors or comments made about others around you. We can probably admit it can be easy to get caught up in the gossip, which can make it hard to stay out of those conversations. The best approach with this type of employee is: Ignore it! If you are talking to someone who begins talking about another employee, ignore it, and change the subject to something that applies to your job or life outside of work. The other approach is to act like you didn’t hear the negative, and make a positive statement about the victim. At least you won’t be brought into as much gossip, and in the best-case scenario, maybe this gossipy employee will follow your example.
The “keeping the peace” Employee
This employee is probably afraid of becoming the subject of the “Gossiper’s” whisperings and wants to keep everyone happy. This person might be afraid to make anyone mad or “rock the boat”. He or she probably needs frequent reassurance. The best way to interact with one who tries to keep the peace at all times is: positivity. Don’t be too reassuring to someone like this, or he or she will be in need of the affirmation too often. Co-workers don’t usually welcome this. Instead, keep in mind some people like to be the peacemaker and worry about being well liked. It isn’t going to change, so just embrace them! Stay positive in conversation, and compliment them every now and then. It can go a long way. On the bright side, this employee will most likely never treat you poorly or be upset with you, unless of course, you really do something to deserve it!
We all want to be happy and enjoy what we do for a living. One major factor probably keeping most people from enjoying their job is those they are surrounded by every day in the workplace. Keep in mind most of those co-workers fall under one of the three categories: mad, talks about everyone, and keeps the peace. A few things to remember when getting caught up in the day to day frustrations of workplace socialization is to stay positive, kill others with kindness when necessary, and be complimentary when the time calls. It’s likely to make for a happier work life and maybe even a better feeling about yourself. Don’t let difficult co-workers stifle your abilities to be successful or bring your mood down. Help yourself, and try not to get involved in the workplace drama we all know too well!
Ready? Go! Kick Out the Stress and Fear
As you lay down trying to gain a sense of relaxation, your mind races, and you can’t help the overwhelming feelings of stress, fear, or worry. Of course we’ve all felt this way at some point in our lives, no matter how short or long term the feelings have lasted. Is it possible to kick these feelings out for good? The chances of completely removing these three things out of your life are not too likely, but at the very least, maybe you can try some strategies or manage your thinking enough to keep the feelings at bay more than usual. Sometimes you might just want to stop trying and yell out, “Help! It’s too much. I can’t handle it!” If that actually worked, and we didn’t have to deal with day to day frustrations or set backs, I’m sure most of us would be a lot more emotionally stable and focused on the present. We’re told life is hard for a reason, but what is the reason? Well, the best reason anyone seems to be able to come up with is one we’ve heard for many years: What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. It could also be said that every obstacle and challenge we overcome or are thrown in life makes us better, and there is a reason for everything. Maybe some don’t believe there is a reason for everything, but when you stop and look back on some specific life events or challenges, no matter how many years you’ve lived, you were able to get past it and learn something. Here are a few thoughts or strategies worth thinking about if facing a stressful time or worrying about what the future holds.
It might sound simple, but it could be one of the hardest parts and has more than one meaning. Yes, the hardest part may actually be showing up. A quote by Woody Allen, “80% of success is just showing up,” sums it up wonderfully. He isn’t just referring to something such as a job interview or going to work everyday. Another meaning for this is also the power of actually starting something. By showing up, starting, and putting yourself out there, opportunities will arise, and your chances of achieving and seizing an opportunity increase by 80%. Think about that the next time you have trouble taking action or getting something done, no matter how small.
If you are the one with the stress or worry, how will it help to have solitude? According to Brad Isaac of Persistence Unlimited, you can cut stress by 63% and gain inspiration. It doesn’t mean it has to be for a long period of time, maybe just half an hour. The tricky part seems to be trying to focus, without any electronic devices, and sitting still and quiet during the time of your solitude. It may be hard enough just to sit still, but to add the idea of no electronic devices in today’s society, probably scares some people! I’m sure if you try it, however, the time will begin to go faster, and with some practice, the task will come more easily. It can’t hurt to spend some focused time by ourselves once in awhile, even just for a little bit.
God Doesn’t Give Us More Than We Can Handle
Yes, if you’ve heard it once, I’m sure you’ve heard it a million times. It begins to sound like something people just tell each other when someone is facing a challenge. For as much it is said, it must be true, right? Right! For as hard as it is to believe and remember sometimes, we must. Why aren’t we all given the same challenges and the same life-changing events or obstacles? The only answer, which makes sense, is: We aren’t all created equally or able to handle the same trials in our lives. We are made this way for a reason, or life would simply be the same for everyone. Also, we would not be able to help each other with these life experiences, if we were all facing the same things and handling it all the same way. At the time of your struggle, all seems impossible and as if you can’t actually handle any of it. Try something next time. When you’ve worked through it, no matter how long it takes or how hard it becomes, think back. You handled it. It worked out. You are better because of it, no matter how bad it was.
We are all given challenges of some kind, in some way, at some point in our lives. To us, some people’s lives appear to be easier or flow more smoothly than others. Stop right there, because it’s not true! The reality is: Compared to your own problems and life, you think others’ are easier and happier, but they are facing struggles you may never know. To them, things are just as challenging and as much of a struggle at times as they are to you. We may just feel like giving up or feel too overwhelmed, but there’s no choice if we want a happy life. When the worry, stress, and fear become too much, keep these things in mind: show up, solitude, and God doesn’t give us more than we can handle.
Stop Wishing the Week Away!
Why do we spend the whole week waiting for Friday?
You wake up and realize it is Monday morning, again, and roll over, hitting snooze on the alarm one, two, maybe even three times. Yes, there it is: another week, more work, more complaining. Technically, the week starts on Sunday, but the majority of people consider the beginning of their week Monday, when they go back to the grind. Most of us probably wish the work week was four days, with the weekend being three days. Who wouldn’t think that sounds better than five days of work? We almost never hear anyone say, “Yes! It’s Monday! It’s going to be a good week!” Instead, what runs through our heads sounds something like, “Oh no! It’s Monday. I have to start another week. I don’t want to get up.” This could be the problem with the workplace and general attitude of people today, and it may be getting worse. By making a few simple changes in our thinking, it may help to:
Stop Dreading Sunday Night!
Maybe it starts during childhood, anticipating the new school week. Some children have a negative connection to the day, and it seems like it only gets worse as the years go on. The amount of stress and pressure put on children in today’s society is much greater than in earlier years, and it becomes more as the pressure we put on ourselves increases. Parents may even add to the stigma of the dreaded Sunday night by making comments about the upcoming week, making it known they don’t want to go to work, or wishing Monday wouldn’t come so quickly. One thing we can all do is change our outlook of Sunday night, or the day in general. Remember, technically Sunday begins the new week. If we make that our new rule, our entire view and attitude can change. Sunday starts the week, so by Monday, we have already created our fresh start! We can also help pass the idea on to friends, family, and the children in our lives. As hard as it is to make yourself excited about starting a whole new week, it should be considered a chance to make the most out of the next seven days, becoming happier, and creating a new future.
Making the Most of the Week
As a society, we seem to consume ourselves, starting with Sunday night, with the work week and how much we have to do. Naturally, this brings stress right away. What fun or relaxation can we have during the week if it begins with self-inflicted stress? A better way to make the most of the week ahead is to plan time doing other things. Is there something you can do each day or a few days after work to enjoy yourself? For some, it is exercising or getting outside. For others, it is spending time with family, friends, or others close to them. Some need the time for themselves, a time of solitude to refocus or just relax in peace. No matter what it is, we should be doing things we enjoy when we aren’t working, Monday through Friday, not just on the weekend.
Having a Positive and Balanced Attitude
As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.” Her motto is one to live by all week, each day, and every morning. We have the power to make all our days positive and full of hope and life, not just let things happen in life, but by bringing joy to the day. It is much easier to tell ourselves to be more positive and get more out of our days, but to really do it is the challenge. Why should it be so hard to be positive and happy each day when we start new? The tendency of carrying problems, worries, and feelings into the next day makes it hard to start over or “reset” every twenty-four hours. Maybe that one small change can make a huge impact in our daily life and attitude: Each morning, try to tell yourself to start over, be happy, trying not to dwell on something from the day or week before, and not worrying or getting anxious about the future. As we all are thinking, easier said than done, but at the same time, always possible.
What society should remember as a whole is how much time and happiness we are wasting by continuing to wish our time away. We aren’t making the most out of our days or our time. We aren’t making ourselves happy or being with people who make us happy. As it is, we dread the beginning of a new week and our work, with the exception of those who love what they do for a living. It doesn’t seem as if people realize what a waste it is. Every time we think about getting to the next day, the weekend, or the next week or month, we aren’t making the most of the present. Next time you think to yourself, “I can’t wait til Friday,” try to keep yourself from dreading the week, and make the most of life by: stopping the Sunday night depression and dread, making the most of the week ahead, and trying to keep a more positive and balanced attitude. Your life will be much happier and fulfilled!
The Great Spanking Debate
As you walk into the store, you hear a mother yelling, causing a commotion, and spanking her child. This familiar sight has created an argument for years, among many generations, all with their own opinions. The biggest debate is probably the question of whether children should be spanked at all. Other issues have also surfaced, such as: Does spanking lead to behavioral problems? Are children who aren’t spanked better behaved? Do those who were spanked have emotional problems later in life? Is there a difference in children who were spanked and those who weren’t? The list goes on and can be analyzed over and over, with varying opinions among generations, gender, and maybe even social status. It seems parents may also be influenced in how they choose to discipline and if they choose to spank, based on their own childhood experiences. Parents who were spanked as children may be less likely to spank their own children, or it may have the opposite influence. They may think they were better behaved because of it and choose to do the same with their children. Childhood experiences shape so much of who a person becomes and ideas of how to raise children.
One topic which can be discussed among those who do agree with spanking their children is: At what age it is appropriate, and is there is such a thing as it being too early to start spanking. In a recent article by Fox News, spanking too early is connected to continuous misbehavior in children. HealthDay News reports spanking in the first year of life is related to this cycle. Spanking within the first year may be the trigger, setting off the unwanted behavior in children. Dr. Adesman says, “During the early toddler years, parents probably need to get more counseling or advice on strategies for managing children’s behavior without resorting to spanking.” This statement alone could spark a whole new area of discussion or disagreement among parents, but it also gives them something to think about. Some will never stray from their spanking ways, but maybe it could also benefit children from getting positive reinforcement, praise, and encouragement for the good they do. For a one-year-old who may not have the ability yet to connect the spanking to a specific behavior, this may be confusing or trigger the same actions.
Another area to consider when delving into the pros and cons of spanking is whether there is such a thing as naturally aggressive children. HealthDay News brings up the chicken and the egg debate, when referring to spanking and children’s misbehavior. The spanking is compared to the egg, followed by more spanking, resulting in more aggressive behavior. Is there a real way of knowing which comes first? Experts may disagree, and parents will always disagree, based on how they were raised and how they are parenting. Regardless of whether the habit of spanking or aggressive behavior starts first, parents’ opinions of the existence of naturally aggressive behavior could be a big influence in how they decide to approach spanking and negative behavior. Some children definitely seem more aggressive compared to others, even as babies and toddlers. Many believe behavior strictly to be related to parenting style, but parenting style may not be completely set in at the infant stage. Naturally aggressive behavior may be worth exploring when having your own children, maybe even by tracking specific behaviors right away as they are infants and continuing as they grow older.
In conclusion, the big questions with the spanking debate are: Is it ever too early to start spanking? Which comes first, spanking or aggressive behavior? Is there such thing as naturally aggressive behavior? These are all valid questions and can be debated among various groups of people, including parents, doctors, teachers, or psychologists. All can contribute to research, observation, and comparing/analyzing information. Regardless of opinions, it is worth researching and maybe rethinking your own parenting styles, based on the personality of your child.
Welcome to Your New City
New Place, New Life, New You
As you drive down the busy street hearing, “Go straight, and turn right. Make a U-Turn, and continue one mile. When possible, turn around, and turn left,” the familiar voice of the GPS gives you every set of directions you can imagine! Although it can be frustrating at times, not knowing where you’re going and maybe not knowing anyone in the area, you’ve come here for a reason.
There are so many different aspects of moving to a new place, and yes, they can be overwhelming at times. Maybe you’ve moved or are moving with family, a friend, or significant other, but there are also those who move alone and do not have anyone. You have to start building a new life from scratch. Whether you are moving alone or with someone, it is a different and overwhelming experience! Most likely, the first time is always the hardest, but the process of moving all your things, especially if it is to another state or country, is tricky…no matter how many times you’ve done it.
The process can definitely depend on a few different factors, but regardless, some things will always be the same. You will need to know and do so much when you make it to your new city, including: changing your address and online account info, getting new license plates/registration/license, possibly getting a job, learning the roads, and meeting new people, just to name a few. If you’ve done this or have just begun, you know there’s even more to it than this! Here are some tips based on first-hand knowledge I now have in all areas mentioned.
Change your address and online account information. The change of address technically needs to be done right before you make the move. Just go to the post office, and fill out a change of address card form It only takes a few minutes, and you’ll get your new, official change of address mailed at your new location. Make sure you hang on to the card. You’ll need it! As far as making sure you get all your accounts and bill information changed with your new address, it makes it easier to do as you get the bills in the mail. Each time a new bill comes, go online (or call) to update your information. It may help to keep a list as you go, and if there’s any other accounts left over, be sure to make the changes as soon as possible.
If you move out of state, get new license plates, license, and registration. Depending on the state, you will have a certain amount of time to take care of these things. Of course, since there is a lot of paperwork and things you need to get in order, it would be best to start earlier rather than later. No matter where you move, the DMV is not a fun place to go! People can be rude, and lines can be long. It’s not a good place to go if you have a lot of other things to do that day or are already feeling stressed. Honestly, you will most likely leave the DMV feeling stressed and angry! It is best to check online to see what types of papers and information you will need to take. It can save a few trips, due to not having the correct information. Regardless of what state, you will most likely need two official forms of identification, your old license, change of address card, and all the information for your car. Good luck!
Get a new job if you were not transferred for work. If you moved because you were transferred, congratulations! You’re one of the lucky ones, and one of the hardest, most time-consuming things can be checked off the list. If you find yourself without work, get busy! This is now your full-time job. Every day, basically all day, your job is to search and apply for jobs. Start with applying for those in your established field if you have one, and then, apply for anything and everything else you can possibly find. Making lists always helps. Apply for part-time jobs outside your field just in case you find you’re having trouble finding something full-time or permanent.
It is important to network and talk to as many people as you possibly can. You’ll be surprised at how many people know someone or know of a possible position for which you can apply. It really can be whom you know sometimes. Also, send resumes in the mail, or drop them off in person, to places which are not hiring or places which have not advertised any open positions on their websites. Sometimes those places are the key to your potential job. Sometimes job groups and fairs can be helpful. Many places offer networking, interview help, and resume editing.
It’s time to learn the roads. Now, let’s be realistic. You aren’t going to know all the roads in your city for quite awhile! If you can just focus on the few main roads and the most important places you will need to go, such as the store, bank, and work/school, that will be a great start. Don’t forget a GPS! If you do not have one, get one. It might be a little pricey, especially after just making an expensive move, but it will be one of your best investments. Not only will it tell you exactly where you are and how to get everywhere, but you can also search for what you need in the nearby area. Don’t take on too much or feel discouraged. It’s going to take a long time to feel like you really know where you’re going. At some point as you’re driving along, you will realize you know where you are and even know how to get home without the GPS! Trust me, it’ll be a great feeling! A few apps for your phone can help too. Apps like Yelp and AroundMe can help find what is in your area, including restaurants, gas, drugstores, shopping, ATMs, hospitals, movie theatres, pharmacies, and taxis! They are both good to have, each having different purposes.
Possibly the hardest part of moving will be making new friends. It will also probably be one of the last things you realize and are able to start doing. You will be so busy getting settled, organized, job searching, and trying to find your way around, you might not realize you don’t know anyone! If you moved with someone or have family in the area, well, you have the advantage. It is important not to lose touch with your good friends back home. Just because you are gone, does not mean you are not friends! That being said, it is also important to make new friends. Talk to anyone and everyone you possibly can, even if it takes you out of your comfort zone. Maybe you don’t usually strike up a conversation with a stranger. Too bad, do it! You have to, or you won’t meet anyone. Join anything you can find. It could be groups at church, volunteering, a book club, the gym, anything. One website that might help is MeetUp. Join Meetup for free, make a profile, and join the groups of interest to you. There are groups for everyone, no matter what you like to do! Each group has different events, where you go meet people with the same interests and similar personalities. Whether you want to volunteer in the city, meet single girls your age, or join a writing group, there’s something for everyone!
Whether it’s to a new city, state, or country, hopefully one or more of these tips are helpful. Even if you are not new to your city, Meetup, Yelp, and AroundMe can be great tools in helping to find things and meeting new people. It doesn’t hurt to meet new people, no matter what stage of life or what location. You will be discouraged at times, no matter how much you love the new city. Take it one step at a time. Start with the most important things, those which have to get done. It becomes more and more fun as time goes on and everything settles. It will be tons of work, but in the end, it should be well worth the effort!
References: Yelp, AroundMe, www.meetup.com, www.mashable.com, www.nakedenvelope.com