#24 Learn Martial Arts

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.

#24

Learn Martial Arts

While this is an activity that is often introduced at an early age, it’s an activity that we are never too old to learn. As long as you are willing to move your body, practice patience, and you won’t throw up each time a ten year old advances past you… you are able to learn a martial art.

Defense

One of the primary benefits of knowing a martial art is the ability to practice self defense. A solid karate chop will set back almost any average offender. We’re never too old to defend ourselves. Self defense is an essential life skill. When we are able to think quickly and react as such, it is a skill that transfers to many other aspects of our life.

Overall Health

Your martial arts activity will be good for your overall health. Just the fact that you’re getting regular exercise has all the traditional benefits. Martial arts training is specifically good for your heart and bones. Some people believe that engaging in martial arts can actually reverse the aging process!

Personal Challenge

Learning a martial art can be as good for the soul as it is for the body. Challenging oneself to push physical boundaries increases esteem, confidence, and trust. The increase in physicality will encourage you across all areas of your life.

There’s a lot to gain from taking the time to…

Learn martial arts.

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.

#25 Compete in Something

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.

#25

Compete in Something

Do you play cards? Tennis? Chess? Do you run marathons or are you part of a sports team? If you do/are… you are most likely engaging in competition which, as it turns out – is good for you. If not, think of something you can do that will offer you an opportunity to compete, to win because the dopamine rush that happens when we win – may be important to our happiness.

Chemical Reactions

It seems as if we are biologically designed to be rewarded for “coming out on top”… for winning. In fact, low serotonin levels are the result of denying ourselves the opportunity to win. If you find that you avoid competition or don’t try to succeed when given the chance, it may promote depressed feelings. Winning is one of the ways that we validate our power or knowledge.

When we win at something, our bodies produce a surge of testosterone – temporarily providing a rush of ‘strength’ in both men and women. In addition, dopamine – the happy chemical – courses through the area of our brain that is responsible for pleasure and positive emotions.

Is it no wonder that winning is the goal?

Winning isn’t Everything

Competition isn’t just about winning however. There are great benefits to being a part of a team when it comes to those competitions that require cooperation and coordination. Learning to share energy in an effort to accomplish a task is an important life skill.

Competitions tax our body and/or our minds. Whether we’re competing in a triathlon or playing Euchre, we are using some kind of energy in the pursuit of playing. Our brains are constantly at work in an effort to figure out how to maximize our performance. It also promotes creativity as we vie to ‘get out front’ and win.

Against Yourself

Some people have negative reactions to social competitions and some, broken perspectives from poor experiences in the past. In these cases, I recommend competition against one’s self. Beat your best at anything; strive to do it faster, or earlier, or bigger. Anything that you can do to promote the sense of “I did it!” will induce similar chemical responses in your body.

Competition is good for you so the next time you have a chance to play a game of anything or to personally challenge yourself… just do it. You’ll be giving yourself an opportunity for some great chemical rushes should you win. After all, the only way to win… is to…

Compete in something.

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.

#26 Rent a Sports or Luxury Car

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.

#26

Rent a Sports or Luxury Car

In the spirit of treating yourself as mentioned in yesterday’s post by making opportunities to enjoy some of the ‘finer’ things in life, why not drive something a little different? Remember when you rented a limo for prom or a wedding? It was a special occasion that called for a special vehicle. Your birthday, anniversary or the third Tuesday of May can also be considered a special day if you want it to be. Allow yourself to consider for a moment, would it be a sporty convertible or a luxurious sedan?

Go Sporty

If you live in a cool damp environment, perhaps sporty is the way to go. You might consider a weekend in a warm and dry region where you can rent a convertible coupe and spend the weekend exploring the region with the top down and the wind in your face. If you normally drive a SUV or truck and rarely get the opportunity to sit close to the road – consider something small that can take a turn tightly.

In the few markets that I investigated, you can rent a Porsche or a Maserati for under $300 a day. While that may seem like a lot of money, it’s about the same many spend on a fancy dinner with a great bottle of wine. I know a few men who would be downright giddy to get on the road behind the wheel of that dream car. What a great gift idea for a big birthday!

Go Luxury

Likewise, if you’ve been fiscally conservative in your vehicle choices through the years, it may be nice to go luxury. There’s a certain kind of pleasure when your body sinks into temperature controlled leather seats that conform to you body shape in a car offering more than necessary legroom as you absorb sunshine through the edge to edge sunroof over your head.

A Cadillac Escalade ESV or a Mercedes S450 may be the perfect ride if you’re in the mountains or exploring a cold city; especially if you need those great features of four wheel drive and traction control. There’s something comforting about having the girth of a large vehicle protecting you when the road conditions are less than supreme. What’s more luxurious than driving to the slopes in the comfort of a roomy, temperature controlled ride filled with all the mind comforting safety features one can wish for?

If you’re scheduled to take a vacation or if you have a special occasion coming up, why not treat yourself and …

Rent a sports or luxury car.

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.

#27 Get Five-Star Treatment

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.

#27

Get Five-Star Treatment

When was the last time you were treated like the Queen of something? Or the King? Have you had white glove service? Flown first class? Have you been waited on pool side? You deserve to and it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg – or anything at all if you are super lucky.

Deserving

We are all deserving of being spoiled and attended to from time to time. Whether it is a spa day where our bodies are pampered, a five star restaurant where a meal is prepared and served with perfection, or a day at home where our every need is anticipated… it’s nice to know that someone in the world – at some point in time – is there for us.

Defined

Exactly what constitutes five star treatment? Most of us agree it’s when we feel attended to, important, and/or special. It’s when service is entirely focused on the pleasure and satisfaction of the customer. And, sadly – it’s not available everywhere. Indeed, five star service is so exemplary that it’s difficult to achieve.  

Five stars is a mentality according to Dr. Williams in an article in CSM magazine – a way of working. He explains that it’s an attitude and discipline that denies mediocrity. And while we intellectually know that “perfect” isn’t consistently possible – the persistent striving for is what sets the tone of five stars.

Finding It

A five star experience is when every detail is anticipated or provided for and it’s not necessarily only at expensive establishments. There are spas, restaurants, markets, shops, hotels, and resorts that are reasonably priced and demand excellence from their staff. Finding it can be challenging at times and if it is affordable for the average consumer, there may be a significant wait time for service. Websites and apps like Yelp and TripAdvisor can help in your search.

Treat Yourself

There’s something really special about being treated as if you are the only person in the world for an hour, a day, or longer. Especially for those of you who are devout caregivers, it’s great to provide exemplary care and maybe even nicer to be the recipient every once in a while. Why not treat yourself by making an appointment or reservations to …

Get five-star treatment.

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.

#28 Start a Business

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.

#28

Start a Business

Many of us are entrepreneurial from the time we are small. Maybe we built a lemonade stand in our front yard, sold Girl Scout cookies, or joined Junior Achievement. If you have a great idea or make a great product, think about starting a small business. It’s never been less expensive to bring your thoughts or wares to market.

Create a Plan

As with anywhere you want to go, the first time it’s easier to get there with a road map. A business plan is a road map for your business and it’s the first place to start. There are probably thousands of blogs, websites, and organizations online that will teach you about a business plan and guide you in designing one. Business.com is one of the free and useful websites offering information about how to do this.

Go Online

The most obvious opportunity is to go online. There are dozens of easy to use avenues from Etsy and Shopify to building your own website quickly on Squarespace or GoDaddy. Getting your services or products on the web can be accomplished with less than $100 and some of your time.

Market Yourself Relentlessly

This is the make-it-or-break-it key to becoming successful. The world wide web is a massive place and your business is a grain of sand there. As a newcomer to the market, you’ll need to grab some attention in any way that you can – professionally speaking of course. Once again, there are dozens of places that you can go online to learn how to market your product. Some of those places are free of charge if you are a good self study. If you want to dive right into the heart of the matter, it may be better to spend some of your working capital money in this arena and take a marketing class that can highlight the most important aspects of promotion. And then, don’t stop… market your business relentlessly to everyone who will listen and give them a reason to tell someone else about you. Light a fire everywhere you go and it will organically spread if there is a wind.

Reinvest in Yourself

If you are one of the fortunate ones, you’ll begin to make money and the best thing you can do with in the beginning is to reinvest it in your business. So many of us are tempted to spend it on those extra things we want – after all, we’re working extra hard – but it’s important to grow your business while it has some momentum and that generally takes capital investment. Even if you’ve only made a few hundred dollars, think of how that money can be spent to market more widely, improve your packaging, or build your inventory. Is there a trade show or a conference that will offer education or networking opportunities? Go to that.

Perseverance

Yes, many small businesses never make it but some would tell you it’s because the business owner wasn’t persistent enough. Remember The Little Engine That Could and go that extra mile… pushing past where most people back down. Don’t stop – not at least until you’ve reached the capacity of your investment in time, money, or resources. There is a time to call Uncle. But, until that time has come – work hard and smart.

If you’ve been wondering about your ability to market a product or talent… this may be your year. Right now may be your time… so why not…

Start a Business

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.

#29 Stash Some Cash

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.

#29

Stash Some Cash

Remember the last time you went digging through each coat pocket in hopes you’d find a forgotten ten dollar bill? It’s important to have a cash stash for those moments when an ATM isn’t readily available or as a way of tucking away a little savings (‘little’ being the operative word here as it isn’t good financial advice to deny yourself any earning capacity your savings may have).

Loose Change

Many of us have ‘change jars’ or some kind of container that becomes a collection place for the random change that we accumulate. It’s amazing how quickly a few cents here and there can add up over time. You may be surprised at how much can accrue by holding on to the coins we come home with at the end of the day. This is the principle behind apps like Digit who sweep very small – unnoticeable – amounts of cash from the account you give it access to.

This suggestion is more about having the cash in hand, on on the premises though. Once you fill your container with change, turning it into bills is easy with the sorting machines you find at grocery stores and banks. Although, those machines do keep a small percentage of your savings as payment for doing all the work. In my opinion, it’s worth it unless you enjoy sitting for hours to sort, count, and roll all those pennies, dimes, and nickels.

Out of Sight

After you bring home the bills – or if you are starting there – you need a safe place to tuck it away. I’m recommending it’s out of sight or else, unless you have wonderful reserve, you may be likely spend it before it accumulates. The big question is where to hide it so that you’ll remember where it is but it won’t be easy to spot in general. There’s no need to tempt people with shaky principles.

Hiding Spots

After winning a large lottery once, I brought home the cash and tucked several $100 bills on page 100 in several different books on my bookshelf. I believed – at the time – that it was a brilliant way to keep it at distance enough that I wouldn’t spend it all at once. The first problem was that I didn’t record which books I put it in – that was a HUGE error of judgment. The second problem was that I had a LOT of books. I never did find all of them. There’s either still a book in my home with a hundred dollar bill in it or someone else got a big treat as I often donate books that sit around for too long.

Try to pick a spot that’s not obvious but one that is safe as well. Here are a list of ideas that I’ve heard about through the years:

  • An empty food box or canister in your kitchen pantry
  • An empty container in your refrigerator
  • An empty container in your freezer
  • In an envelope taped behind a piece of furniture or wall decor
  • Folded into socks or undies
  • Tucked into shoes or boots
  • Under seat cushions of furniture

There are obvious problems with all of those ideas as none of them except possibly the refrigerator or freezer, will keep your cash safe in the even of natural disaster or fire. In those cases, the best hiding place is a fireproof safe hidden from plain sight. And… I’m certainly not recommending that you stash too much – a number that is very individual but probably doesn’t need to exceed a few hundred dollars. Banks are the best best for larger amounts.

In any event, it’s often good to know that in a dire situation you won’t have to worry about a tank of gas or a loaf of bread because you’ve made the effort to…

Stash some cash.

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

#30 Masquerade for a Night

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.

#30

Masquerade for a Night

Have you ever thought about escaping your life? Have you ever wondered what life might be like if you were someone else? We all have at one time or another and if you opt to don a masquerade for an evening, you may surprise yourself at how good it feels to step out for a brief escape of your reality.

This suggestion isn’t so that you can escape the overall reality of being you… it’s not a permanent coping mechanism. It is a way to give yourself a ‘break’ from the stressors and/or responsibilities that you may need some distance from. This ‘escape’ is best played out with a partner or friend and can actually stimulate intrigue, curiosity, and excitement as you both engage with a new persona. It’s your chance to role play or pretend for a few hours; an activity often recognized as helpful in spicing up an intimate relationship.

Fantasy

Masquerading and role playing are great ways to play out emotional fantasies such having increased courage, being more sultry, or having more confidence. Sometimes, if we don’t have the inner belief that we possess a particular trait, it’s helpful to ‘pretend’ that we do to ‘try it on’ and get a sense of how it may be to experience that element. It’s a way to “fake it until you make it”.  

Something as simple as wearing your hair up, or wearing makeup if you don’t typically do either – can create a ‘shift’ in the way that you think of yourself and hence, give you a different perspective out in public. Getting out and doing something completely different from your ‘norm’ while dressed or made up completely different from what’s typical may add just the spice to your life that allows you to have a little breathing space.

So, don those hair extensions and add a pair of glasses or ditch the suit and tie for a pair of jeans and a Hawaiian shirt – grab your partner and …

Masquerade for a night.

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

#31 Learn to Juggle

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.

#31

Learn to Juggle

For those of you who’ve been reading these last eleven months, this suggestion may seem like a stretch in the pursuit of a happier, easier, and more productive life but there are a number of reasons to include it here.

Fun

In order to feel ‘happy’, we must include moments of downright belly laughing opportunities. If you’ve ever watched someone attempt juggling or tried it yourself, you know the potential for fun is prominent. It’s fun to watch someone try and juggle and also fun to watch when they’ve mastered the skill. Juggling is the kind of ‘sport’ that works your body, mind, and soul.

Physical Benefits

Juggling is a great exercise for hand to eye coordination. This kind of activity builds neural pathways in the brain which, is super important for people of all ages. In addition, it promotes better dexterity.

It forces your attention and physicality into the present moment which, we know is a treatment for people with anxiety. If you’re not paying extremely close attention, you won’t be able to manage the coordination and so it is necessary to pull all of your mental and physical resources into the present in order to juggle.

Lastly, you can’t juggle without good posture. Practicing juggling on a regular basis will help you keep a straight stance – adding to the health benefits overall.

Mental Benefits

As was mentioned above, you must have great focus in order to juggle successfully. There are some reports that suggest kids who began juggling experienced less expression of their diagnosed attention deficit disorder. The same is said to be true of adults with in the same position.

Some people posit that juggling qualifies as an ‘active meditation’ since you are present, focused, aware of your surroundings, and aware of your body all at the same time.

Learning

If you feel inclined to learn how to juggle, I am going to suggest starting with YouTube where there are a number of videos explaining how to start. The most important part of this process of course is practice… as with any other thing that utilizes dexterity, coordination, and mental concentration – practice makes perfect.

If you’ve hit a wall… a plateau… or just have some spare time on your hands, it may be helpful for you to completely switch it up and get into something new by…

Learning how to juggle.

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

#33 Have a Photo Shoot

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.

#33

Have a Photo Shoot

You may be part of the population that has an annual family photo shoot for the purpose of sending Christmas cards or you’ve hired a photographer to take generation photographs when the family is all together but have you ever just had a photo shoot for fun? A professional photographer is not required. All you need is a great location, a willing subject, and a smartphone or nice camera. The new iPhones take better photographs than the $1000 camera that is only a couple of years old.

Silly Fun

If you’re a professional model, this may not sound fun at all but if not – this could be an activity full of fun and laughter; especially with a bunch of friends or someone special. You can take turns using the camera to capture funny faces, funny poses, and action shots of all that silliness. After all, sometimes, the best photos are the ones that are completely spontaneous.

Boudoir Shoot

How about a sexy shoot with class? – that’s the idea behind the Boudoir shoot. It’s definitely NOT pornography and definitely DOES capture the inner sultry of whomever is the subject. They make wonderful gifts for both men and women.  And, you don’t have to be in a relationship to justify having the shoot – it can build confidence for people of all shapes and sizes. This may be an area where hiring a professional is best, their ability to position and light you to maximize your best features will pay off.

Natural and Candid

You could fashion a backdrop and ‘stage’ a session for your shoot but a natural environment where your camera operator is able to capture candid images is often much nicer. Find a playground, a creek bed, or another favorite outdoor place to take your pictures. You might even have a friend follow you while you engage in your typical daily activities so they can seize any moments that find you immersed in your truest self.

Glam Shots

If you can’t get the shot you’re going for, try Glamour Shots, a franchised photography studio that specializes in ‘glamming’ you up and posing you in an effort to capture your best features. They offer props and backdrops of all kinds to ‘set the stage’ for dramatic and beautiful photography. In some cases, they offer makeup, wardrobe, and styling services. Think one-stop-shop for professional photography.

It doesn’t matter if you take this suggestion and go professional or if you grab a friend, your smartphone, and get out of the house, you’re apt to have a lot of fun and permanent memories if you take the time to…

Have a photo shoot.

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