#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

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#46 Hone Your Good Manners

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.

#46

Hone Your Good Manners

Good manners are defined as polite or well-bred social behavior. My mother used to call them “social graces” and my grandmother preached “you don’t have to have money to have good manners”.  Simple things such as saying “please” and “thank you”, not interrupting people, not demanding attention, asking permission, and knocking before entering are the most basic manners that are recommended we teach our children.

There are others.

Emily Post

Emily Post was the Queen of manners, also known as etiquette. For more than fifty years, she taught the ‘average person’ how to behave within traditional and acceptable social parameters. Most of her advice is still valid but there are other graces she couldn’t have imagined; cell phone manners as an example. The Post family has maintained the work of their matriarch at emilypost.com and outline good manners in business, for weddings, and lifestyle.

Awareness of Others

On their website, they describe good manners as “as sensitive awareness of the feelings of others” and I couldn’t agree more about this as a guiding principle when it comes to considering how to behave. Some manners are formal (not sitting at the table before the host sits) but others are simply common sense if we are considering the people around us (not farting at the dinner table).

Changing Times

I often hear older people speak to the fact that younger generations haven’t upheld familiar manner standards. Frequently, they are talking about ‘thank you notes’ and the absence or neglect of younger people sending them. Everyone wants acknowledgement and appreciation and so when we receive a gift and/or a benefit from someone, a thank you is the least of the considerations and “awareness of the feelings of others”. Today, it is acceptable to send an email instead of snail mail.

Some Things Stay the Same

When parts of our culture change, some elements of manners will change but others continue on with adaptations. It was never courteous to jump up and answer the telephone when it was attached to the wall if you were in the middle of communicating with someone else. The same courtesy remains even though the phones are no longer attached to the wall. If you are engaged with someone, turning your attention to a cell phone is simply rude.

Good manners used to designate social class but they certainly don’t have to. Behavior is a choice and the classification of manners is available online and in library books, free of charge. There is no excuse, or reason that basic manners can’t be observed so take a look and make an honest assessment of your own behavior. If it can use more sensitivity and awareness of the feelings of others it may be time to…

Hone your good manners.

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

#59 Ride a Horse

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.

#59

Ride a Horse

I’ve spent a little time this winter watching a period drama on television where the only method of transportation was horseback and I have a client whose passion it is to ride; she trains year round. It reminds me of the couple of times my grandfather pulled me up onto his saddle and pranced me around his farm and a single trip down a Caribbean beach later in early adulthood. Both times, I recall feeling the horse beneath me and being amazed at the sense of power there.

Good for You

Horseback riding is actually good for you. Sitting on a horse, whether you know ‘how’ to ride, or not will challenge you physically. First, you’ll experience body awareness as you need to sit on the horse in a specific way in order stay balanced. As you do so, it’s likely that you’ll use muscles that aren’t used to being used – also, good for you (and those muscles). There’s an element of coordination required of riders that is also good for your body and posture.

The mental aspect of riding is also quite beneficial. If you are a recreational rider that only occasionally takes a trail ride – at the very least you are outdoors. Indeed, you are most likely in a beautiful location where there are endless opportunities for appreciation and gratitude.

If riding is a full blown hobby for you, the additional benefit is the connection and ultimately the relationship you have with your horse. Very different from that of a house pet, the energy shared with a horse takes trust to a whole new level when you are the rider. Often, that horse is five to ten times your size and while you are communicating through body movement and reign management, that horse can still do darn well do what it wants. When you work together, the symbiotic energy of the relationship is evident and can be quite lovely.

Grab the Chance

Obviously, we don’t all have the ability to step out and hop on a horse after we finish our morning coffee but if not, the next time you are on vacation and have the chance to take an excursion that involves a horseback ride along the beach, through the forest, or around the foothills, I hope you have the courage to…

Ride a Horse

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

#88 Get up for the Sunrise

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.

#88

Get up for the Sunrise

Some of you may do this on a regular basis but many of us do not and by staying in bed until after the sun is high in the sky, we are missing one of nature’s most magnificent moments. Without the sun, Earth would be an ice covered rock; it is the life force of our existence. If you are one of those who are routinely awake for the sunrise – do you watch? Are you present for the experience?

Good Mood

Watching the sunset – truly savoring the experience of it – can help you be in a good mood. There’s something about the energy of the sun peeking over the horizon and blooming fully into the morning sky that offers hope. The colors that are created each morning – completely dependent on that particular morning – are challenged to be created with paint, chalk, or pencil. Again, color has a way of inspiring us to feel better and increase our mood.

Consistency

The sun rises each day regardless of what is happening in the world and it’s a wonderful reminder that life keeps moving forward in spite of everything else. It can be a wonderful reminder that we too, can move forward and go on. It’s also one of the things that promotes hope in our spirit.

Gratitude

The sunrise can inspire gratitude. There’s something spectacular about this automatic event that produces intense beauty, incites promise, and comes to us free of charge that we tend to be thankful for. It may be typical to think “wow”, “man”, or “geez” with a sense of awe as we notice it’s characteristics.

If you can’t bring yourself to get out of bed that early in the morning, there is always the sunset but it generates a different spirit altogether so do yourself a favor and…

Get up for the sunrise.

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

#90 Plan a Surprise Getaway

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.

#90

Plan a Surprise Getaway

I’ve written about Surprising someone but this suggestion is just a bit more specific and has a tendency to crank up the appreciation scale significantly.

Spouse

Your partner may be the most obvious choice for this suggestion as they are the often the most deserving of your unannounced benevolence. It’s a great way to spice things up; to let them know how important they are; how much you appreciate their contribution to your life together, etc… It doesn’t matter if it’s only an overnight at a local Holiday Inn or a week away in Sedona – the fact that you thought of and planned for his or her absence (leaving no detail unchecked) will garner points for months – if not years – to come.

Parents

Next to your spouse, for many of you it’s your parents that have devoted themselves to your success. If You’re going to plan a surprise getaway for someone, why not a spa weekend for mom or a golf outing for dad? Maybe they’d enjoy a weekend at the beach or a chalet overlooking a ski slope. It could even be a camping cabin with a fire ring all set to light. Surprises don’t have to be fancy to be meaningful. If money is tight – try AirBnB or call in a favor from a friend who has a place that mom and/or dad may like.

Friends

One of the best gifts I ever received from a friend was when she surprised me by taking my kids for a weekend. She came and got them, left me a big pot of soup and left me in my own home – alone – for the whole weekend. It was a great reprieve at a difficult time in my life to have a ‘staycation’ without any responsibility. It was – in it’s own right – a surprise getaway even though I only ‘got away’ from responsibility. I’ve never forgotten how good that felt.

Key

The key element here is that a big part of the surprise is not having to plan – a thing! I’ve heard some stories about how a even a suitcase was packed and in the trunk of the car – almost like a love kidnapping. The babysitter was arranged, the meals were planned, responsibilities covered, etc…. It’s a true escape for the recipient.

If you can’t think of anything to get your loved one this year for the holidays – consider a way you might…

Plan a surprise getaway.

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

#92 Be a Cheerleader

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.

#92

Be A Cheerleader

I’ve written about mentoring, appreciation, and friendship and in each case, there is potential for this suggestion – to be a cheerleader. Of course, I don’t mean the high school sports variety. By cheerleader, I mean someone whose focus is championing for another, directly encouraging and supporting.

We all need someone in our corner cheering for us – egging us on for a win – for success. Cheerleaders don’t criticize or correct, they inspire, urge, celebrate and rejoice in each little maneuver that delivers someone closer to the goal.

Pure Cheering

For some people this comes really easy – we all know one … that person (often a Grandmother) who encourages you no matter what – even if it’s not all that great of an idea or goal. And then there’s the rest of us (often parents) who who say “that’s good, but…”. A true cheerleader eliminates the “but”. A cheerleader leaves their personal opinion out of the equation. Unless someone is headed in a direction of self harm or violence – they are pure support.

Value of Cheerleading

While there has been a lot of controversy in recent years of building people up – sometimes without merit, it’s an important element of developing and sustained self-esteem. It feels good to know that someone is ‘on our side’ and that there is a person ‘has our back’ no matter what. Trust is established in this manner as well as confidence. Yes, it’s true that blowing smoke at people isn’t helpful because the real world doesn’t always ‘cheerlead’ for us. It’s all in the delivery!

Honest Cheering

It’s possible to be a cheerleader without going overboard and puffing someone up unrealistically. Instead of saying “you were great!” (if they really weren’t)… say “Your effort was amazing!” or “You’ll get it next time.”  Instead of claiming that a negative isn’t present at all… focus on the positives. Instead of buying into the disappointment that a ‘big’ thing that didn’t happen – celebrate all the small victories.

I’m sure there is someone in your life that can benefit from your decision to…

Be a cheerleader.

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

#94 Celebrate a Friend

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.

#94

Celebrate a Friend

Friendship is a gift. In the longest longitudinal study of human development ever conducted, it was ascertained that friendship is critical to our mental health and directly impacts our physical health. A good friend wears many hats and by helping us make critical decisions, cope with stress, and rebound from illness. A good friend may literally make the difference between life and death at a critical point whether it is holding our hand during an emotionally weak moment or donating a kidney, bone marrow, or genetic material so that we can start a family. A good friend deserves to be celebrated.

Appreciation

When was the last time you demonstrated solid appreciation for the friends in your life? If you’ve been remiss, now is a great time to reconcile your gratitude. Consider hosting a “[Barbara]Appreciation Day”. It may look very simple – a handwritten card with expressions of acknowledgement. It could be a PB&J picnic or treating him/her to a nice lunch at their favorite restaurant. It could be a full-on surprise party or celebration that catches them off guard and for the sole reason that they’ve been instrumental in your life. The point is to acknowledge their contribution to your overall well being as you…

Celebrate a friend

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

#117 Practice Appreciation

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.

#117

Practice appreciation

After a few years in private practice working with couples in crisis, I noticed that they all had a blaring commonality; an absence of expressed appreciation. Early in relationships, whether they are employment, romantic, or just personal – we tend to be observant of the ‘niceties’ that are exchanged and comment on them in appreciative ways. In many cases, that energy quickly wanes.

Gratitude

In the age of the Gratitude movement, it is often apparent that people are using the term gratitude when they mean appreciation and believing that because they appreciate something, they are automatically grateful for it but they are different. They are not one-in-the-same.

Difference from Gratitude

The Oxford English Dictionary explains that Gratitude is the “readiness to show appreciation” and then goes on to define appreciation as “the recognition and enjoyment of the good qualities of someone or something”.  Key into the phrase ‘recognition of the good qualities of someone’ – seeing the good – as that is commonly the area to dissolve first.

I love the way that Esther Hicks explains appreciation – “seeing something through the eyes of the source (creator)”. It is to ‘notice’ and once we do… we can be – and often are – thankful for what we are appreciating (gratitude).

The Practice

In order to actually practice appreciation, we must direct our attention away from ourselves and engage in the present moment. As you recognize the good – comment on it.

“I appreciate that you got up with me this morning.”

“I appreciate that there is always cream in the fridge.”

“Thanks for being willing to work everyday. We appreciate the way you care for us.”

“Thanks for coming home tonight.”

“I’m happy that you’re sitting here with me, thank you.”

And the list is endless. Hearing appreciation for our ‘being’ and for what we do, helps us to feel recognized, loved, and valued.

Tip

The next time you feel salty with your partner or they are being cranky with you – stop and make an assessment of three things that you appreciate about them and share. Even in that no-so-perfect moment,  you can find something to appreciate and expressing it will pump some loving energy into the negative space between you.

It is always helpful and potentially relationship saving when you…

Practice appreciation.

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

#132 Make Something For Someone

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.

#132

Make something for someone

There are few things better than being the recipient of a gift made with you in mind. The holiday’s are fast approaching and this suggestion is designed to encourage you to consider one or a few homemade gifts this year.

Personally inspired, homemade gifts have always been big in one arm of my family. The time, consideration, and attention to a gift that was created from a loving perspective has always been highly appreciated.

Of course, many of these items are derived from crafty hands but they don’t have to be. A homemade gift can be cookies, or a soup mix. It can be bath salts, vinegar, or infused oils – none of which take much talent outside of a Google search and assembling a few ingredients. Indeed – those particular suggestions are quite simple.

Make Your Own Vinegar

Infused Oils

Dry Soup Mixes

It can be more involved though, depending on your talents. Do you draw? Paint? Crochet? Sew? Build? Of course, artwork is always nice for young people just setting up house. A commissioned drawing or painting is great if there is a beloved pet, home, or photo that is meaningful to someone. Everyone needs an afghan for the couch or a cuddle blanket. It only takes a bit of time and talent to build a blanket ladder, a gift that most of us would love.

If your talent is more service oriented, then make an I.O.U.  Create a card, a certificate, or a coupon that offers your time to someone. The gift of babysitting, cleaning, yard work, cooking, home decorating, etc… the list is endless. Anywhere that an extra pair of hands is needed would be a welcome ‘gift’ to most all of us.

The holiday’s doesn’t have to be stressful on the budget – not to mention, birthday’s, thank you’s, or other special occasions when we have the ability to…

Make something for someone.

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