#10 Know ‘Your’ Colors

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#10

Know ‘Your’ Colors

In the early 80’s, there was a product line distributed at first via the home party platform, called “Color Me Beautiful” based on the book of the same name by Carole Jackson. The principle of Color Me Beautiful is that each individual can wear any of the colors but the richness and undertone (warm or cool) is better on one skin color over another. The idea was that you could have your skin tone assessed and that would direct the color of your makeup, lipstick, and wardrobe colors; because when you wear the ‘right’ colors – it highlights your natural beauty.

Take the Quiz

I haven’t heard of anyone hosting those parties in recent years but many women know what ‘season’ of color best suits them and the information is easily found on the internet by answering a few questions about your skin tone, eye, and natural hair color.

Season Schema

Once you know your ‘scheme’, it’s suggested that you prioritize those colors in your wardrobe and base your makeup selections accordingly. For example, if you are an Autumn – you would want to keep things in the green/rust/brown arena. Springs would choose red, lavender, and teal. Summers lean toward blues, yellows, and pinks. Finally, Winters might choose purple, burgundy, and emerald green.

Additionally, the colors are broken into the categories of warm or cool; winter and summer are cool while spring and fall are warm. As stated earlier, it’s the richness and tone of the color that either does or does not work with your individual coloring.

Why It Matters

There’s plenty of research telling us that when we feel attractive we stand taller, smile more, and engage more fully in our communication. What could be easier than working with the base pallet we were born with? Most of us probably have an experience of wearing a particular color and notice that when we do, the number of compliments about our appearance is elevated. Maybe people don’t say “I like that color on you” but the comment about how pretty you look or how nice you look. They may notice that you look happy or simply “good”. It may be helpful to see if there is a correlation to the increased comments based on a color you wear.

Color Palette

The color palettes are readily available online and once you’ve taken the quiz to determine your ‘season’ – buy the palette and carry it in your pocketbook or keep it in the car so that when you are out shopping, you are matching your purchases to the colors determined to be a best match to your skin tone. It’s as easy as that to look your best once you…

Know your colors!

TTAHListen to me on Try This at Home – a series of conversations about making life better.

You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play, or Feedburner

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#11 Ask For Help

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#11

Ask For Help

Far too often I find myself talking with people who are overwhelmed because their life has turned temporarily chaotic and they do not stop to ask for help. Frequently, it’s because they think they ‘should’ be able to handle it and asking for help feel like a weakness. Other times it is because they don’t want to ‘bother’ people.

A Village

The phrase “It takes a village” is an African proverb speaking to the concept that an entire village is involved in the rearing of its children. I think this phrase is appropriate for life as a whole… sometimes, just getting through major life stressors – takes a village. When a catastrophe happens, it takes a village. When an illness strikes, it takes a village. When a move is imminent, it takes a village.

And yet, we tend to deny ourselves the village support by not asking for help.

Major Disturbance

If you are in the middle of a major challenge and someone says “let me know if you need anything” – let them know! If they were just being polite they can assume responsibility for setting their own boundaries. I find that generally, people mean it when they offer help and are happy to provide assistance. When life takes a disastrous turn, it’s hard enough to maintain the simple elements of our daily routine and personal composure, let alone managing the major responsibilities of daily living.

Minor Disturbance

Sometimes, life’s challenges are minor and mostly a nuisance. Your furnace goes out on a day when you have an important meeting… You get stuck in a traffic jam and can’t get home in time for the school bus… You have a family emergency in the middle of the night… All of these experiences are unpredictable and mostly out of our control. In those moments, it’s imperative that we reach out to those people in our village to fill in the gap.

The Village

In an era where people are much more transient that ever before in history, it’s important to recognize that many of us don’t have family down the street or around the corner. Our ‘village’ takes on a different identity than we may have imagined. It becomes our neighbors, our children’s friends parents, our co-workers, or our church family. Remember too… it takes being a friend to have a friend who steps up when you need a hand although, it may not be the ‘same’ friend. Karma doesn’t travel in a liner line.

Remember, it’s not just about building the village – it’s about USING the village and making sure that when you need to, you…

Ask for help.

TTAHListen to me on Try This at Home – a series of conversations about making life better.

You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play, or Feedburner

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#12 Argue Effectively

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#12

Argue Effectively

In January, I dedicated a post to ‘Stop Arguing’ but in a relationship, the idea that you may never argue is too idealistic. When you live with someone, you’re bound to run into conflict and the solution isn’t to avoid the confrontation, but to approach it effectively.

The following eight suggestions – when followed – will allow disagreements to be addressed with respect and maturity.

  1. Use “I” statements only. Explain your position, your role in the conflict, and your expectations. Identify your triggers, explain your needs, and describe how you will work to bridge the gap in the conflict. Concentrate on your perspective here and work hard not to engage in finger pointing or blaming.
  2. Step back from your ego. In supportive partnerships, it is important to embrace our differences with respect and develop acceptance for the ways that our partners are different. There are mostly differences between us – not always rights and wrongs. If you feel you need to fight for being ‘right’ about something, ask yourself “why?” If it is only ego based, drop it.
  3. Be present.  Don’t focus on the past (unless you are reflecting for the lesson it is teaching you) – or worry about the future.  Try and stay right there in the present moment and what is happening there. Don’t allow your baggage to overwhelm the issue at hand.
  4. Pay attention to the issue. Try to understand why it is important to or distracting you. Is is a failed expectation? Something you didn’t know? Are you defensive? Why? Exactly what are you feeling and why?
  5. Don’t interrupt your partner. You can’t be a good listener if you aren’t allowing their complete thought to be articulated or expressed.
  6. Make sure you understand what you are hearing. If necessary, restate what you hear – paraphrase it – based on your understanding so that you get on the same page.
  7. Remember that most of us have good intentions. Try not to jump right to the conclusion that your partner is being an ass. Consider that they are experiencing frustration and give them space to talk about how they feel.
  8. Do not raise your voice or walk out. If you need a break from the conflict – honor that it remains unsolved and ask for a time out. Don’t threaten. People who feel attacked or threatened will get defensive almost immediately. Once that happens, the discussion is doomed.

Communicating with respect is probably the most critical aspect of a healthy relationship. Remembering that we each come into a relationship with different experiences, worldviews, expectations, and methods will go a long way. Resolving conflict is more easily accomplished when you know how to …

Argue effectively.

TTAHListen to me on Try This at Home – a series of conversations about making life better.

You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play, or Feedburner

 

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#13 Lean In to Fear

#13 Lean In to Fear

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#13

Lean In to Fear

Maybe one of the hardest things in life is to face those things that we are afraid of. In October, I wrote a post about vulnerability but didn’t directly speak to the idea of facing fear in general. Being vulnerable is the first step in facing a fear and absolutely necessary in conquering them but there is more.

Understand Fear

Perhaps it’s important to begin by understanding fear. It’s the thing that our brain uses to move our body in such a way as to improve it’s chance for survival. No matter if it is physical or emotional… fear let’s us know that danger is pending. Sometimes though, the problem is that our fear is based on a perceived danger, a false danger, or an imagined danger. That’s right… the danger doesn’t have to ‘actually’ exist for us to literally feel fear. We just have to believe it exists.

Hard Wired

Because our very existence depends on surviving and surviving means that we must avoid great danger, we are hardwired to constantly be on the lookout for things that are wrong. (It’s one of the reasons we may not notice the ‘good things’ in life.) It’s literally in our best interest to be fearful of those things that we don’t know or that aren’t certain.

Having said that… fear can be very limiting and deny us opportunities to enjoy what life has to offer. A fear of airplanes may prevent you from visiting places you want to go. A fear of heights may prevent you from seeing amazing views. A fear of animals may prevent you from walking along magnificent forested trails.

Lean In

What does it meant to ‘lean in’ to fear? It means moving toward it instead of backing away. It means allowing the discomfort to encompass you instead of resisting it. Leaning in means taking a risk with that thing that you fear. Feeling uncomfortable and accepting risk takes courage so the idea of leaning in means to act courageously.

Identify Fears

We can often learn about our fears when we look to our emotions. Anger, anxiety, frustration, hate, bitterness, and resentment are the consequences of fear much of the time. We may be afraid of failing, of letting someone down, of not being accepted or loved. Perhaps we are afraid of disconnecting, of leaving, or of staying. When we zero in on our fear we will know exactly what to ‘lean in’ to.

A best life is when you are living the most authentically – that takes courage. It also may require you to…

Lean In to Fear.

TTAHListen to me on Try This at Home – a series of conversations about making life better.

You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play, or Feedburner

 

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#14 Practice Self Discipline

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#14

Practice Self Discipline

One of the most important elements of maturity, emotional intelligence, and good health is developing self discipline and engaging in it more often – than not. Self discipline is the thing that allows you to control your impulses and stay focused. It will help you to helps us establish habits that allow us to obtain the goals we set in life.

Acknowledge Your Weaknesses

Self discipline is most difficult where our weaknesses are concerned. It’s important to understand our weak points so that we can develop strategies that will work. It’s not hard to get up at 6 am if you are a morning person but if you are a night owl, you will need to acknowledge that mornings aren’t your thing before you can effectively manage discipline in that area.

Learned Behavior

Self discipline is a learned behavior. It’s the practice of doing the same thing with purpose over and over. It’s the practice of denying yourself the thing that prevents you from reaching your goal. Because of this – learn self discipline the way you learn anything else… start at the beginning, take small steps, and build up to the harder chunks.

Mental Attitude

Research has demonstrated that our belief about our ability to practice self discipline will ultimately determine how successful we are. Imagine that you are building your personal capacity for discipline as you move forward; giving yourself the opportunity to expand your belief.

Reward Yourself

Almost a century of research indicates that we are likely to perform better if we are rewarded. B.F. Skinner demonstrated the theory of Operant Conditioning where learning occurs most efficiently when there is a positive reinforcement. Building your capacity for self discipline can be accomplished in this same manner.

If there’s a goal you’ve been working toward and haven’t been able to quite get there, consider redirecting your focus and make the effort to …

Practice self discipline.

TTAH

Listen to me on Try This at Home – a series of conversations about making life better.

You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play, or Feedburner

 

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#15 Eliminate These Words from Your Vocabulary

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#15

Eliminate These Words from Your Vocabulary

After years of working with couples in crisis and helping families communicate better, I’ve noticed a pattern of vernacular that is a part of most dysfunctional relationships. Our language matters; the words we use are important and paying close attention to your vocabulary will help you communicate better… improving your relationships and your overall sense of happiness. Here are the primary culprits:

“Should”

I wrote a post early in this project about eliminating the ‘should’s in your life and that was mostly from the perspective of identifying the internal expectations that guide you. However, they often interfere in our relationships as well because we think others “should” do something. When we impose our own ‘should’s on others, we are really attempting to convey an expectation and it’s better expressed that way. Instead of “you should take a day off so we can spend time together” you might eliminate the word should and offer this: “It would be great if you could take a day off so we can spend time together”. Simply replacing the word ‘should’ with the word ‘could’ – makes all the difference.

“Right & Wrong”

“Do it the right way”, “If you did it right the first time”, “No, you’re wrong”… all of those phrases are likely to incite a defensive reaction almost as soon as they are spoken. When someone is defensive – they probably aren’t listening and so the conversation is broken at that point. When we understanding that ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ are generally spoken about perspective and values and that they are different for different people we can shift the way we speak about them. Try to adopt the ideology that there is no right or wrong – only differences.

Instead of the phrases above, try these: “I was thinking it could be done this way”, “Generally, I do it like this”, “I’d like it done this way”, “that’s an interesting perspective” or “I don’t see it that way”… notice that in each of these statements – you are using the “I” voice and describing YOUR thoughts/perspective. That’s the key.

“Make”

In the English language, we often use the word ‘make’ to mean ‘cause’ which, is one of the secondary definitions and yet when it is in reference to feelings or behavior – it creates a problem of responsibility. Under the assumption that we – each of us as individuals – is personally responsible for our behavior – no one can force us to behave in a particular way. Literally speaking – WE are the cause of our behavior. Thinking anything different is deflecting responsibility and handing away our personal power. Each time we utter the phrase “you make me…” or “you made me…” etc., we are inferring that the responsibility for OUR behavior is on another. That is simply untrue. While it is true that we may react to another person’s behavior – it is still OUR choice on if, when, and how we react.

When we feel something and react – that happens inside our own being and is OUR responsibility. Try these phrases: “I get really angry when you….”, “I feel really disappointed when [that] happens”,  “I have a lot of feelings about…” – notice that in each case again, the communication is about what is happening for YOU. It’s always about communicating your experience from your perspective.

When we pay close attention to the language that we use in our communication, we can significantly reduce the amount of defensiveness that is generated by…

Eliminating these words from your vocabulary.

TTAH

Listen to me on Try This at Home – a series of conversations about making life better.

You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play, or Feedburner

 

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#16 Create a “Make Me Happy” List

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#16

Create a “Make Me Happy” List

When my children were young, I made a list of things that “made mama happy” so that if they wanted to ask me for something such as running them to the basketball game after I’d gotten home and put on my jammies, they could look at the list and do something nice for me in return. And, while I don’t generally promote a ‘tit for tat’ attitude in most relationships, it’s no surprise that humans are more apt to concede when their needs are also met.

What is it that makes your mama, your partner, or your roommate happy? [know that the word “makes” is being used in the context of ‘generates’ – what ‘generates happiness for your partner, etc.,]

Love Language

There’s an old fable that goes like this:

A man and a woman show up in a counselor’s office after 40 years of marriage stating that they were on the verge of calling it quits. The counselor asks “why after all this time are you opting to end the relationship?” The gentleman replied with a frustrated and loud voice “Every time she walks by me, she pats my God Damn head. I’ve asked her a thousand times to stop and she won’t. I’m done!”. The counselor looks at the woman who is sitting demurely and asks “and you? What’s your position in this?” to which the woman replies sadly and softly… “he never pats my head.”

The point here being that she patted her husband’s head as a way of telling him she loved him… and because it irritated him so – he never considered that she may actually like it. We each have a different way of understanding and feeling loved. It’s the premise behind Gary Chapman’s Five Love Languages and a common problem in many relationships. We are inclined to treat our partners and family members the way we want to be treated instead of stopping to recognize how they want to be treated.

Speak Up

One simple way to have your needs met is to blatantly tell those who matter – what is is that generates happiness for you. Are flowers important to you or would you rather have the house cleaned? Do you value a romantic dinner or a couples massage? Does it bring you peace when the kids pick up their shoes and put away their backpacks? Or when they empty the dishwasher? (assuming you need to choose).

Write It Down

I am suggesting that you make a list and tape it all over the house… on the mirrors in the bathrooms. On the back of the bedroom doors. In front of the Playstation or to the top of the laptop. Wherever it is most likely to be seen most.

You don’t use the list just at those times when you want a favor however… if that’s the only effort – it is manipulative. You use the list when your partner has had a bad day, feels sick, or has gone above and beyond. When a child feels appreciated, they will often step up without being asked so know what is important to them as well.

Appreciation

Finally – be sure to be appreciative! We only have so much to give without a consideration of appreciation before we adopt a sour attitude. Even though appreciation isn’t the motivation – once again, we’re human and unless you are a strongly evolved individual – you probably have limits on how much you are willing to give without any acknowledgement of the effort.

A simple and effective method of having your needs met and meeting the actual vs. perceived needs of others to to have everyone in the household…

Create a ‘make me happy’ list.

TTAH

Listen to me on Try This at Home – a series of conversations about making life better.

You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play, or Feedburner

 

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#17 Host a Clothing Swap

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#17

Host a Clothing Swap

Were you ever dismayed to find out that your friends sweater – the one you loved – got sent to Goodwill? Are you in the habit of dipping into your roommate’s closet more often than your own? Are you on a budget but really tired of your wardrobe? The solution may be as easy as hosting a clothing swap.

This is an activity that mom’s often engage in when they have friends with children just under or over the ages of their friends. Kids, especially babies, frequently outgrow their clothes before they can wear them out and so it’s financially prudent to swap clothe as you go along. Since we so easily think of this for our kids, it’s equally sensible to do it for ourselves.

It’s easy.

Clean out your closet just as you would if you were going to donate clothing to charity. Invite a few friends over after directing them to do the same, open a bottle of wine, and take turns choosing something from one another’s discards. Don’t limit the items to clothing. Jewelry, shoes, bags, and other accessories will also be “new to you”. These items are especially considerations for those friends who may not be the same size. Whatever is left can then be donated.

This particular suggestion hits the mark on all levels by promoting recycling, inspiring financial sensibility, upgrading your wardrobe and boosting the happiness that ensues from all of that.

If you’re looking to refresh your closet, why not invite a few friends and have a fun night by…

Hosting a clothing swap.

TTAHListen to me on Try This at Home – a series of conversations about making life better.

You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play, or Feedburner

 

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#18  Sit With Yourself

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#18

Sit with Yourself

Do you know someone who can’t sit still? Or others who are uncomfortable with being alone? Are you able to go to a movie or eat in a restaurant by yourself? Learning how to be comfortable with time by yourself turns out to be a critical component to true happiness. Having alone time is important.

An Hour or Two

Spending as little as an hour or two each week is all it takes to improve your sleep, your attention, your commitment, and your stress level. It doesn’t matter if the hour or two is in one fell swoop or if it is broken into segments. Perhaps it’s only a half hour at lunch four days a week. Maybe it’s getting up a half hour early or going to bed before everyone else. At the very least, it may be an hour on Sunday evening while the rest of the family is watching a movie or reading.

Alone Time

The kind of alone time that is suggested here is being ‘still’ with yourself. It’s not intended to be a time where you clean, work, or talk on the phone. It’s not taking an hour to scroll through social media or even read, or watch television. It’s quiet time; sitting and being. It’s for introspection, creative thinking, and thoughtfulness. It’s for mental planning, self nourishment, and emotional recharging.

Doing so may be the antidote you need for the stressors of daily living or a stressful work environment. It may be the time you need for the creativity spark that will help you finish a story, inspire a painting, or adopt an idea. It may settle you mind long enough so that the solution to a problem becomes crystal clear. It will likely help you find your voice – to sort through your thoughts sufficiently enough that you are able to articulate more fully in the process of communication. It will likely help you hone into your perceptive energy, encourage deep thinking, and hence, improve your relationships all around.

There is much to be gained when you commit to spending time alone where you just…

Sit with yourself.

TTAH

Listen to me on Try This at Home – a series of conversations about making life better.

You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play, or Feedburner

 

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.