#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.

#77 Switch Hands

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.

#77

Switch Hands

Want to give your brain a quick boost? Spend a day primarily using your non-dominant hand for a day. Try using it to zip, button, and snap. Soap your body, brush your teeth, and comb your hair with your ‘other’ hand. Keep going. Try buttering toast and reaching into the fridge opposite from how you usually do it.

This activity is considered exercise for your brain. Scientists tell us that if we are using one side of our body more often than not, it hold true also that we are using only one side of our brain more often than not. Something as simple as using a different hand will help you develop the other side of your brain; grow neurons.

Healthy Brain

In the same way we strive for better health in our bodies, it is imperative that we are attentive to keeping our brain healthy. If we change those little things that we do rotely, it forces us to use brain power and think about what we’re doing.

Healthy Body

If you’re right handed, your right bicep is probably stronger. You are likely right footed as well with more developed right leg muscles. Shifting things into your left hand will activate the left side and balance the muscle development in your body.

Marketing

Researchers have suggested that we tend to ‘lead’ based on our dominant hand; meaning that we will lead to the right when we are moving through a store, an amusement park, or generally anywhere we go. Watch what direction people tend to move as they exit an escalator or at the entrance to a concert hall. One of the most helpful tips I read when going to Disney World the first time was to go left as soon as we entered the park because most of us will automatically go right. [More than 70% of the world’s population is right handed.] And, by the way, it worked. Change is good for us all.

You may be surprised to discover the benefits of exercising your brain by making a commitment to …

Switch hands.

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

#82 Create a Plan

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.

#82

Create a Plan

Any good life coach or business development coach will tell you that the secret to success is a plan. We can easily relate to this concept if we understand that many aspects of our life are akin to building a house. Every house that’s ever been built began with a vision and then moved into the planning stage and a blueprint is designed.

Blueprint

The blueprint is the base ‘plan’. It’s a conceptual illustration of how things ‘could’ work with all systems in place and in the absence of major changes. It’s a starting point and a visual from which to work.

In your plan, this means writing things down… make a list – create a binder – build a vision board, etc.

Foundation

The next step is to lay the foundation. This may be the most important piece as everything else is supported by this base and many of us have witnessed first hand what happens to a house when there is a deficiency in the foundation.

In your plan, this means education – training – experience, etc.

Construction

Few of us have ever built a house single-handedly. Indeed, most of them are built with the cooperation and coordination of people who are there in support of the entire project and they are aware of the ‘plan’.

In your plan, this means family – friends – experts, etc.

Work Order Changes

Sometimes, as we move about the construction, the plan on paper doesn’t actually work the way we thought it would in real life. When something needs to be changed there’s a mini plan developed to accommodate the shift. Most often, it’s no big deal. Sometimes, it’s a major repositioning and we need the support of everyone involved and maybe even a bolster to the foundation. Some houses get built with very little deviation from the primary plan. When I did it, there were 22 work order changes; the irony of it is not lost on me.

In your plan, these modifications may be health – relationships – money, etc.

When the foundation is in great shape, the alterations are handled efficiently. When it isn’t – sometimes you go back to square one and adjust the original plan in detail.

It’s really very simple. Life is just one big, personal house that we begin designing in adolescence with a vision of who we are and what we want for ourselves. The biggest mistake that we make is going into adulthood without a blueprint for how it will unfold. Maybe you did but there’ve been so many ‘renovations’ along the way that you now need to go through each room to make sure that they meet the conditions set forth with the current revision. It’s a process many of us can benefit from every couple of years.

If you never did implement a formal design… it’s never too late. Take the time to consider your future and …

Create a plan.

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

#100 Quit a Bad Habit

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.

#100

Quit a bad habit

It’s not quite the New Year when many of us will jump on the idea of eliminating the bad habits that hinder our best selves which, might just make it the best time to go ahead and quit now. Bad habits are those things that we do that we know aren’t helping us; the things that nag us more than our moms.

Obvious

These malicious behaviors are quite obvious and include doing anything in excess (drinking, eating, spending, etc.), smoking, nail biting, and snacking. They are the things we ‘know’ we need to stop doing for our health and overall welfare. These habits can literally put our life in danger. They impede our self image, our confidence, and esteem.

Subconscious

Some habits have developed underneath our awareness. Some of us twirl our hair incessantly or click a pen to the extent that our co-worker want to jump across their desk just to grab it away from us. Or how about that foot that shakes or the leg wiggle that indicates nervousness? Constantly smacking gum, or slurping coffee are common habits that go unnoticed by the habitour but are obnoxious irritations for those in the vicinity.

Verbal

Some of our bad habits are verbal… Saying the word “like…” far too often and contextually inappropriately; speaking too loudly for the environment; and using the sound “um…” in more than just an occasional sentence. While not directly verbal – many of us don’t make eye contact while speaking – a habit that is considered downright rude in many cultures.

Notice

As with anything, in order for it to be changed, you must be aware. Ask friends and family members for their observations to catch the things you aren’t aware of. Make a list of the items that you may want to work on and consider which ones are priorities – don’t try to make too many changes at once.

Twenty-one Days

In order to break a bad habit – replace it with a good one. If you are trying to stop smoking – chew gum instead. If you’re trying to break the habit of nail biting – find a way to keep your hands busy; crochet, knit, play with a fidget spinner or stress ball. If you can eliminate your bad habit for at least 21 days, the odds of beating it all together is greatly improved.

Don’t wait for the New Year and a resolution that will likely be broken quickly. Make the effort today so that you will go into the next year without that annoying behavior. Take a minute to pick one and then commit to …

Quit a bad habit.

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

#109 Try a New Perfume or Aftershave

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.

#109

Try a new perfume or aftershave

Have you been a creature of olfactory habit? Have you ‘smelled’ the same year after year because you’re fearful of finding another scent that works? Many of us have fond memories that relate to scents. I can’t smell Old Spice without thinking of my father and my mother, Estee Lauder. They wore those scents so long that they were synonymous with their roles.

Chemical Changes

It’s interesting to note that over time, our bodies chemical composition can change just enough so that the way it interacts with the chemicals in the cologne, it may smell different on us. Likewise, manufactures can tweek even one element of the scent structure and it interacts with us differently – changing the way it smells. It’s always good to have a fall back or another ‘go to’ scent.

Picking the Right Scent

While there are those that will never change – it’s not necessarily true that one scent fits all occasions. A light fruity scent may not be the most appropriate one for a winter holiday party. Likewise, a sexy soft scent probably isn’t a great choice for an important board meeting. Men also need to consider how strong their aftershave or deodorant is as compared to their environment. And ladies – when you spray, try to remember a little on the wrist goes a long way.

This suggestion is for those of you who know how to take a risk, who want to try something different, and who aren’t afraid of change. Of course, starting with samples is probably the best approach until you find something you enjoy. There’s no reason to accumulate a dozen bottles of scent that you won’t be wearing.

The next time you walk through the cosmetics department or find a magazine filled with samples – grab them so that you are ready to …

Try a new perfume or aftershave.

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

#121 Make a list of Positive Affirmations

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.

#121

Make a list of positive affirmations

The idea that positive thinking is at the core of positive developments and manifestations is now more than one hundred years old. It is thought to have been born out of Wallace Wattles’s 1910 book, The Science of Getting Rich. One of the primary tenets of the ideology is the value of affirmation.

Affirmation

By definition, an affirmation is “the action or process of affirming something” as well as “emotional support or encouragement”. In the New Thought movement, an affirmation is defined as “a carefully formatted statement that should be repeated to one’s self and written down frequently”.  As they are formulated, attention is directed so that they are “present tense, positive, personal, and specific”.

Louise Hay

Louise Hay, may be one of the original ‘self-help’ gurus as her book You Can Heal Your Life has had a permanent place on the bestseller list for that genre since its publication in 1984 – more than 30  years. She teaches the power of affirmations and offers specific instruction on how to craft them for effectiveness.

Creating Affirmation

An affirmation – as mentioned earlier – needs to be:

Personal – I, my life, I know, I believe, I trust

Positive – absolute, all, always, in fact, everyday, at all times, in every way.

Specific – (naming the ‘thing’ that you want to affirm)

Present – now, as I breathe, in this moment, at this time, here, am, is.

Example: I am (Personal) always (positive) extending compassion (the ‘thing’) as I breathe (present moment).

It doesn’t have to be in that exact order or using only those words of course. The internet has a gazillion examples of you need help choosing the ones that are meaningful to you.

Using affirmations

For many of us, the use of affirmations is a way of teaching ourselves a new language. It’s a way to overturn critical and negative self talk with something encouraging and healthy. Instead of a personal beratement of “I never do anything right” – the affirmation of “I am always learning from mistakes I have made”.

I recommend making a set of flashcards – just like you would if you were learning a new language vocabulary (because you are) – and practice them on a regular basis. I’ve had clients who kept them in their car, their purse, on their nightstand, etc. and reviewed them several times a day. Eventually, they become memorized and etched in our mindsets just like the vocabulary we learned as students.

Consider for a few minutes, those positive elements that you want to become more pronounced in your day-to-day life and …

Create a list of positive affirmations.

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

#124 Realign Your Priorities

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.

#124

Realign Your Priorities

Why do you do what you do? What are your priorities? Do your actions – your behaviors – demonstrate your priorities? Are you engaged in the activity that you say is the most important thing?

Define Your Priorities

When asked this question, people often respond family, friends, home, work, etc… and often in that order. (Many people put God ahead of them all). Yet, as I ask a client to describe their day to day lifestyle, there is often a discrepancy between what I heard described and the values they shared to begin with. If someone tells me that their family is the most important thing on Earth but then works sixty hours a week, they are demonstrating that it’s not ‘time’ with family but ‘providing for’ family is the priority. This is a great example of what one person says and what the other ‘hears’. Jack and Jill both ‘say’ that family is their number one priority but their actions/behaviors delineated that further by drilling down to ‘time with family’ and ‘providing for family’. Often – those specific values work in contradiction to one another.

We could drill down even further to examine the nuances of each by describing ‘time’ more specifically… is that weekends and soccer games? Or is it story time and date nights too? Does ‘providing for’ mean any old roof over our heads or does it mean 3000 square feet and quartz counter tops? Does it mean private school and full college tuition or public schools and grant money?

Work in Progress

The fact is, our priorities develop and morph over time. If we are good communicators who are present and who spend time ‘going deep’ with our partners, they stay in alignment both with our actions/behaviors, and in tandem with our partner. I find that this is rarely the case – at least with couples who seek therapy.

Lose Sight

I think many of us fail to remember to check in with ourselves from time to time – let alone with sour partners. In our crazy busy world where we are constantly seeking more, we get stuck on auto-pilot – somehow thinking that because we got on ‘this’ road, it will take us where we want to go without more direction checking on our part. We set course based on the information we have garnered – at – that – time. Along the way, there are distractions, chaos, change, temptations, etc…. And we often lose sight of their original objective or we adjust course and forget to share that information.

Back on Track

Getting realigned takes little more than some self-assessment, a discussion, and honesty. It means revisiting your values and priorities to be sure they are still valid and then assess our actions/behaviors to evaluate their efficiency toward manifesting the priority. If ‘(quantity) time’ with family is above all else, working 60 hour weeks isn’t the route to that goal and it will require an honest conversation to realign the priority or to realign the action/behavior so that they work in tandem with one another.

Good Habits

We see our doctor for an annual physical. WE get systematic reviews of our professional performance. Our corporations are assessed for proficiency and profitability on a regular basis. As an individual who is ultimately responsible for backing up our words with action – it’s imperative that we do the same. Make it at least an annual habit to take a step back and …

Realign your priorities.

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

#126 Make a New 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.

#126

Make a New Friend

Life is just better when we are sharing ourselves with other people who are like-minded. Some of us who are more introverted may hesitate to reach out in ways that allow us to make new friendships. Others, are challenged to keep up with the friendships that already exist. And for some of us, the friendships we have may no  longer be meeting our changing personalities or needs.

Like-minded Peeps

Friendships are built upon like-mindedness; shared interests, values, and inspirations. When our daily activities or the things we value change, so may our friendships need to change. It may be that as we grow into a new interest, we discover that surrounding ourselves with people who also like those things may inspire us to go further than we knew we could.

Breaking Barriers

Sometimes we realize we need to make new friends yet we are limited in our opportunities to meet new people. This is when we need to break barriers of comfort and habit. This is when it becomes necessary to branch out and create opportunities to be introduced to people like us via clubs, groups, volunteering, etc.

First Move

If you know that new friendships will enrich your life, be brave enough to make the first move… ask someone to lunch with you or suggest a get together. Initiate conversation or invite them over for an evening that encompasses that ‘thing’ you share. Take the initiative in opening up; be vulnerable!

It’s really not possible to have ‘too many’ friends – people that really matter to you and that share common ideologies. If you’ve notice that the number of people in your life that are innately connected, perhaps it’s time to …

Make a new friend.

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

#131 Sleep on the Other Side of the Bed

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.

#131

Sleep on the other side of the bed

I will occasionally recommend this suggestion to clients who have difficult sleeping and/or couples who are attempting to inject new energy into their relationship. It is sometimes met with resistance and declarations that they won’t be able to sleep yet, when they report back in, I often hear how making that shift was a new and interesting experience.

Habit

We are creatures of habit and without realizing it, we tend to slip into comfortable routines that create the potential for chunks of monotony to set in. The side of the bed we choose is one of those ‘chunks’. It’s necessary to notice comfortable, unconscious patterns and challenge them from time to time; to force a ‘shift’; to shake things up! In doing so, we are organically more present; more conscious of our being; and more aware of our power.

Just Try It

In 2015, a survey concluded that people would rather give up the TV remote than to change the side of the bed they sleep on so if you share the bed with someone, this suggestion will need to be a team effort. Consider sharing this post with your partner and make the suggestion. It doesn’t have to be a permanent change, or even a long term one. It can be for a night, a weekend, or however much time you may need to experience an awareness of the difference.

Potential Benefits

Changing bed sides may be good for your mattress assuming that different body sizes and shapes are on the new side – mattresses tend to conform to our bodies over time and changing it up will work to smooth out the ingrained shape. You may also find that sleeping is easier on one side versus the other; perhaps you will change the side you sleep on – shifting the pressure points to which your body is expose. You may find more romance by shifting sides… it could feel like you’re in bed with a different partner – playing into fantasy or simply refreshing a staleness in your relationship. You may snore less, be warmer, cooler, or be on the side with less light.

At the very least, you’ll be challenging your brain and the way it remembers – an activity that is all over healthy for your memory and it reminds your psyche who is running the show! Maybe start on a Friday night so that you’ll have the weekend if it totally ruins your sleep pattern. Generally though, people consider it an interesting experiment when they…

Sleep on the other side of the bed.

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