#125 Eat Healthier

Instead of succumbing to the temptation of my olfactory inclinations, I make an effort to command control and convince myself that carrot sticks are sweet too.

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.

#125

Eat Healthier

This sounds like a New Year’s resolution at first glance and yet it may be the cornerstone to actually living a happier, healthier, and more productive life. The concept is only new to you if you’ve been living in a cave for the last couple of decades. Indeed, over that time, the Surgeon General and most of our health care practitioners, have touted the benefits of making healthier food choices while the average size of children and adults continues to escalate.

In our fast paced, modern world – the most basic element of survival has become more and more difficult to monitor. We are inundated with food choices almost everywhere we go. Even at my children’s orthodontist office – right next to the coffee pot (a valued added service) there are cookies, cake, or doughnuts ready to be gobbled up by waiting parents, siblings, and hungry kids ready for their after school snack.

Instead of picking an apple off the tree on a walk home from school, our children ride the bus around a corner and into a subdivision, get dropped off at the driveway and grab a processed rice krispy treat or a bag of Doritos before plopping on the sofa to play video games. Sadly, that morphs into a quick dinner with a ‘hurry up and eat’ before someone has to be somewhere more evenings a week than not. It’s the ‘way of the world’ these days and we are all guilty at some point of wanting and making meals to be quick and easy regardless of how healthy they are.

It is beginning to change with healthier options on menus everywhere yet our size continues to grow. In part, because even though we have options – we don’t choose them enough of the time for it to make an impact. Consequently, grocery stores still sell the processed stuff; restaurants still offer the 2000 calorie burger & fries, and deep fried Snicker bars are sold by the thousands at every fair/carnival around the country – because we keep buying them!!

In the interest of honesty I must disclose that I too, cave to the pressure – the smells – and the flavors that tempt and tease me. I can definitely commit to making more consistent healthier choices. In talking with clients who are challenged here as well, the common similarity is that we lack will power. It’s challenging to walk into a mall where Cinnabon has just finished baking a tray of toaster sized rolls. The air is pungent with the smell of cinnamon and yeast. A glance in that direction identifies the source and one can hardly ignore that they are frosted with a decadent amount of cream cheese sugary goodness – so much so that if you’ve ever tasted it – and love it – your mouth instantly begins craving another fix.  ONE classic bun touts 880 calories and the equivalent of 15 spoonfuls of sugar. Would you sit down and shovel 15 teaspoons of sugar into you mouth on purpose??

Instead of succumbing to the temptation of my olfactory inclinations, I make an effort to command control and convince myself that carrot sticks are sweet too. I then seek an eating establishment that offers ‘fresh’ non-processed options and each time I sit down to eat or stroll through the grocery store I make another concerted effort to…

Eat healthier.

(P.S. – Breaking an addiction to sugar is perhaps the most important part of eating healthier – it makes everything else taste better!)

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

#156 Donate Your Books

Your dusting efforts become a lot more efficient when your bookshelves are de-cluttered. You’ll feel better knowing that those volumes are engaged with more purpose.

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.

#156

Donate Your Books

Do you have shelves of books that you’ve read? Or of ‘how-to manuals’ that are contain information easier to find on the internet now? Or old textbooks that may even be obsolete at this point? Will you be re-reading any of them? If not… perhaps it’s time to clean off your shelves.

There are a lot of places that you donate those books so that they don’t end up in a landfill – a thought that seems completely sacrilegious. Here’s a few ideas:

Donate them to the Salvation Army. There’s been a lot of publicity about the various donation organizations and this one takes the lead in terms of amount of donations that actually fund its programs. Your ‘trash’ will be someone else’s treasure.

Local libraries. Your local library may be interested in your cast offs but check with them first. Some are inundated and stop taking certain genres.

Hospitals & nursing homes. These institutions often have small lending libraries for patients and residents. Even older books may be appropriate for nursing homes as their residents often prefer to read popular fiction from their era.

Underfunded schools. If you’re close to a region that struggles to meet the needs of its population – in particular, students – they may be very interested in books that can be used for educational purposes. The Reader to Reader program will take your books from local donation points and distribute them where they are needed.

Book Art. You could try your hand at Book Art… a growing genre of artistic expression that is accomplished by folding the pages of a book in a certain way. You can make anywhere from $30 to $75 per creation by selling them on Etsy. Maybe a great way to pull in some spending money.

Your dusting efforts become a lot more efficient when your bookshelves are de-cluttered. You’ll feel better knowing that those volumes are engaged with more purpose; potentially helping someone or providing relaxation and/or entertainment for another individual or child.

Grab a box and pull out those paperbacks that you finished reading years ago and …

Donate your books.

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

#169 Memorize a Poem

Memorizing a poem that you enjoy helps to build upon appreciation of artistic expression in general.

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.

#169

Memorize a poem

Aside from “Roses are red…” and “Miss Mary Mac…” have you ever memorized a poem? Can you recall it now? Memorizing is good for your brain and poems are often good to practice because there is typically a cadence that makes it a little easier. It may be good for your spirit as well… the material we memorize sits a little further in our brains and becomes deep knowledge.

Repetition

Unsure of your ability to memorize? Think of all the song lyrics you know… you’ve memorized them without intent just by listening to the song over and over. Really, anything we do over and over can be implanted in our memory banks. Think of the church service you cantor without much forethought, or the pledge of your fraternal organization. Repetition is a key to memorizing.

Irish Blessing

My mother had a plaque above the kitchen sink that I often read as I washed dishes and I remember it now… decades later; The Irish Blessing:

May the road  rise to meet you,

May the wind be ever at your back.

May the sun shine warm upon  your face,

And the rains fall soft upon your fields.

And until we meet again,

May God hold you in the palm of his hand.

I encourage you to pick a poem from this list of Best Short Poems to Memorize or another that resonates with you, print it out, and tape it in a location that you can easily read it a couple times a day (computer desk, kitchen or bathroom mirror). Before long, you will have memorized the poem in its entirety.

Benefits

Memorizing a poem that you enjoy helps to build upon appreciation of artistic expression in general. The ‘artistry’ in the poem exposes you to language that may not be a part of your typical vernacular; expanding your vocabulary. It has the potential to expand your verbal and emotional intelligence which, are attributes associated with higher rates of well-being.

Take a short tour of the link above, visit the library, or think of a poet you’ve enjoyed in the past, pick out a verse, print it out, and …

Memorize a poem.

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

#173 Refresh the Photos in Your Frames

Additionally, your brain has become accustomed to the photos currently in place – after awhile they become almost invisible to your senses.

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.

#173

Refresh the photos in your frames

We frame favorite photographs of people we love or of great memories so that we can keep the moment alive and in front of us. While the snapshots of the kids in preschool are adorable, there’s a good chance that they have had a number of memorable moments since.

Digital Age

I am personally guilty of and have heard consensus that since the onset of the digital age, fewer and fewer photographs actually get printed. This may be one of the reasons that we aren’t updating the photos in our household frames even though many photo printing services make it exceptionally easy.

Get Organized

Grab a piece of paper and make a list of the frame sizes around your home. Many of them are typically 4×6 (the standard print size) or 5×7. Some of us may have special occasion photos that are the larger 8×10. Once you have a list, spend some time going through your phone or your online photo storage app (Google photos, Facebook, Shutterfly, etc…) and pick out a few to print. Most of the time, all you have to do is copy the photo so that they are all on the device you intend to transfer from.

Print

Once you know which photos you want, use a printing service such as Shutterfly or Snapfish. Of course, most box stores (Target, Walmart) and drug store chains also offer printing services. Simply download the photo to their online app, select the size and finish, and then pick them up when you are ready! It’s that easy.

Memory

Changing photographs is another activity that can help keep your memory strong. By stimulating our recall abilities, we engage memory in a way that keeps it moving… kinda like greasing a cog. Additionally, your brain has become accustomed to the photos currently in place – after awhile they become almost invisible to your senses. Changing the pictures will stimulate your brain as it notices something new as you move from room to room.

New Look

Replacing the photos in existing frames also protects against excess clutter as the years go by. Obviously, the longer we live, the more moments we capture and want to remember. Yet, continuing to add frames and photos can become overwhelming as time passes. As you go about this project, you may wish to update your frames as well but it’s not necessary to replace them. A fresh coat of paint, some embellishments or simply moving them into a different room may be all you need for the overall look to be updated.

Add this task to your master to-do list to keep it on your mind and the next time you need a ‘rainy day’ activity – consider the novelty and pleasure you’ll experience by taking an afternoon and …

Refreshing the photos in your frames.

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

#174 Change the Knobs on Your Kitchen Cabinets

When we have the feeling that we are ‘with the times’ it settles that FOMO sensation; it helps us connect to the universal need of belonging.

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.

#174

Change the knobs on your kitchen cabinets

Want a quick pick-me-up? An updated look? It can be as easy as changing the knobs on your kitchen cabinets. Designers agree that a ‘dating’ element of design can be easily identified by the metal finish of knobs throughout a home. With a drill and screwdriver, the current decade can be introduced to your homes’ cabinetry.

It may be as simple as changing from knobs to handles.

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Or changing everything to a metal/look that is current or popular.

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Or mixing it up a bit – adopting a more eclectic look.

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Depending on the size of your kitchen, changing knobs can be pricey.  A new knob can run from $.99 to over $5.00 apiece depending on the quality and look you’re going for. Specialty knobs can run as much as $10.00 each from places like Restoration Hardware or Pottery Barn. But they don’t have to… a can of spray paint can make a huge difference.

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A fresh look helps you feel better about your environment. When we have the feeling that we are ‘with the times’ it settles that FOMO sensation; it helps us connect to the universal need of belonging. We are less timid about socializing at home – any sense of ‘not being good enough’ dissipates; at least in terms of our ability to live in modern conditions.

Novelty+Knob

Whether it’s a can of spray paint or a shopping spree for unique and/or some kind of novelty knob, the look of your kitchen can change significantly with the quick and easy effort of …

Changing the knobs on your kitchen cabinets.

#181 Celebrate A Milestone

When you acknowledge and celebrate even your small accomplishments, you honor the work you put forth.

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.

#181

Celebrate A Milestone

Yesterday, I crossed the threshold of a milestone that is meaningful to me. I’ve published a daily post for six entire months! When I started this task of compiling 365 thoughts/ideas/tips of how to live live better, I didn’t really give much consideration to the significance of the challenge to write every day for an entire year. Shortly after moving forward, I realized it was going to take some appreciable thought and perseverance. While I have another 182 days to go in order to accomplish the task as a whole, I feel rather accomplished at reaching this point; it’s more than I’ve ever done.

Life is filled with milestones

There are so many milestones in our lives that we leave unacknowledged or downplay… what about that first time you finish a 5K? Or the time that you were offered a salary you had reached for? What about the savings goal you worked hard to accomplish? Those things are beyond the new promotion, the new house, marriage, middle age, and retirement but definitely worth celebrating!

Honor Yourself

When you acknowledge and celebrate even your small accomplishments, you honor the work you put forth. You’re taking a moment to recognize the part of you that benefits from praise and appreciation. It’s an audible “I did it” and an unceremonious “yay for me” that is deserved. Why not? It’s important to learn how to validate oneself – not in the pursuit of conceit or zealous pride – just an appreciative sense of accomplishment.

Celebrate

So today, I invite you to self-congratulate – if even for a moment – for something significant that you’ve accomplished recently. What major goal have you surpassed? What challenge have you conquered for the first time? What golden ring have you grabbed? Think carefully, pour a glass of wine, pop open a beer (unless you are celebrating a recovery milestone!), or grab a chocolate chip cookie and…

Celebrate a milestone!

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

#255 Try a New Food

New foods shake up our taste buds and make meals more interesting. Trying something out of the ordinary addresses our sense of adventure and may meet part of our need for variety.

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.

#255

Try a new food

Is there a type of food that you’ve never tried? Have you had Thai food? Vietnamese? Lebanese? Sushi? Beef Tongue? Tripe? Escargot? Liver? Eggplant?

There’s a good chance that a few of you already incorporate one, two, or more of these into your regular diet and there’s a better chance that most of you have yet to try at least one or two of these edibles. As a child, I never developed a taste for Eggplant no matter how much tomato sauce smothered it and yet as an adult I was blown away by a Ratatouille recipe I found last summer and thoroughly enjoyed some fried eggplant my daughter made after we brought home a box full from our farm share.

My grandfather raised Black Angus cattle and tried to entice us with beef tongue a time or two… honestly – as children we were completely disgusted with the concept but one of my favorite Mexican restaurants serves tongue tacos and they are amazing!

I’ve ventured into Sushi in recent years and can’t quite get to the Shishimi level but most other parts of the menu – the cooked items – are new favorites and really – anything with Wasabi… Yum. (Try mixing a little into ranch dressing for a new kick).

Lots of foods that we turned our noses up to in our younger years may have a new lease in your diet but you have to give them another chance. I flat out refused to eat Asparagus as a teenager but it is a staple on my grocery list these days.

New foods shake up our taste buds and make meals more interesting. Trying something out of the ordinary addresses our sense of adventure and may meet part of our need for variety. If you’re going to go out to dinner – go someplace new. If nothing else, go someplace that is offering something you won’t eat at home (making Escargot may be more involved than a typical weeknight allows for).

Even if you can’t get motivated to change this dramatically and find yourself at your neighborhood Applebee’s for the second time this week… at least order something different from the menu!! The point is to shake it up a bit and …

Try a new food.

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

Photo by Jesse Hanley on Unsplash