#85 Investigate New Restaurants

It was so much of a routine that when the bartender saw us sit down she automatically ordered our appetizers and placed the margaritas in front of us.

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.

#85

Investigate New Restaurants

For years, our Friday Night Date Night was routine. We took off a little early and then headed to our favorite Mexican restaurant for margaritas and dinner. It was so much of a routine that when the bartender saw us sit down she automatically ordered our appetizers and placed the margaritas in front of us. People nearby would often ask one of us if we had ‘ordered ahead’. While that routine was kind of nice and predictable it prevented us from discovering new restaurants. Since Harlan’s death, I’ve made an effort to discover new Friday night jaunts.

Recommendations

One of the first places I turned to were friends and family. I wanted to know what their favorite eatery was and why. I started my list. It’s always nice to have a personal recommendation when visiting someplace – especially by someone who knows you and is considerate of your time and budget. Most people are candid if they believe you won’t enjoy a certain experience.

Yelp

This is a great ‘recommendation’ app for smartphones. Generally, you can access the menu there and see photographs that have been taken by other people who’ve eaten there. Of course you can read their ‘reviews’ and determine if it’s a place you want to try. I’ve found that its necessary to read through a number of review in order to get a balanced perspective. Sometimes, people are having a bad day and leave solid derogatory review for a small infraction.

OpenTable

This is another smartphone app that is mostly for reservations; you won’t find every restaurant here but those who are will typically leave a table or two specifically for people who request tables through the app. Case in point: on a beautiful spring day in Baltimore, we strolled along the waterfront and decided to have lunch at a waterfront restaurant. When we approached the maitre d’, he told us it would be a 90 minute wait. We knew we didn’t want to wait that long so we found a bench and I checked Open Table to see what was available in our location. That very restaurant had a table for 4 available in 15 minutes. We thoroughly enjoyed our lunch overlooking the Baltimore harbor that day and I spent just a few minutes being just a little smug about the work-around.

Dinner Club

If you really need inspiration, start a dinner club with a couple of friends or family members. Plan to meet once a month at a different restaurant each time. There’s a certain sense of adventure that you’ll experience in doing so and even if there’s a less-than-great meal now and then – you’ll at least have had fun with people you care about.

Be brave, trash the routine, and give your taste buds an adventure by…

Investigating new restaurants.

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

#87 Attend a Concert

. Mick Jagger, from The Rolling Stones is 74 years old and still entertaining millions of people. If you’re a Stones fan… You’d best catch their next tour.

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.

#87

Attend a Concert

I’m sure many of you have – at least once in your lifetime – been to a concert of some type. There’s a wonderful element about music that helps us feel better, no matter the genre. And there are so, so many options. No matter your preference, Country, Rock, Opera, Acapella, Easy Listening or Jazz and there may be almost as many different type of venues.

Outdoors

My personal favorite is attending a concert outdoors, preferably at the beach where I can combine the sensations of both the sun, sand, and music all at once. Summer concerts in big outdoor stadiums can also be a blast, albeit crowded. The acoustics there may make the sardine effect totally worth it however. Smaller outdoor venues can be a lot of fun as well and it’s there that we often find new bands that are just getting started on the circuit. Often, outdoor concerts won’t have a seating capacity – especially at locations like the beach but you are always vulnerable to the weather.

Indoors

Indoor venues vary from small and intimate to covered Superdomes. There are venues with front stages, stage-in-the-round, and others with no stage at all. Indoor venues generally do have limited seating and there’s a special energy to a ‘packed house’, especially because special effects generally have more of an impact inside. Of course, weather isn’t an issue indoors but crowds can be.

Old and New

I’m always a bit surprised when I see bands that I loved as a young adult still pull in packed houses entertaining an entirely new generation of music lovers. Bands like The Beach Boys, The Rolling Stones, and The Who are still touring. Mick Jagger, from The Rolling Stones is 74 years old and still entertaining millions of people. If you’re a Stones fan… You’d best catch their next tour. Some of the newer music artist are drawing great audiences also and we’re never too old to enjoy good music.

Perhaps you’ve discovered a new genre that you’d like to see in concert. Don’t forget colleges, casinos, and State Fairs when considering concerts – they often book new artists that are gaining momentum.

Go ahead and take a look at TicketMaster, VividSeats, or StubHub (rated #1) and see who’s going to be in your area – or consider traveling to see a much loved band and make a weekend of it. The best holiday gift may be tickets that allow you to …

Attend a concert.

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

#91 Host a Party – Just Because

Chill out and stay focused on the laughter you’ll generate as you play a round of Cards Against Humanity or belt out a few Karaoke songs.

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.

#91

Host a Party

The days of dinner parties for the sole purpose of spending time with people we enjoy seems to be a thing of the past. Granted, some of us may invite friends over for a barbeque or pizza night but in my world it most often meant the kids too and was the only way we made the effort to socialize at home. I’m making this recommendation to bring the party back home – just because.

Hosting

Back in the day of dinner parties, people used their best china, set out the crystal and sterling, and donned a string of pearls when they hosted friends. I’m not recommending that kind of formality as it also – has gone by the wayside in most urban homesteads. A ‘party’ for this reference is any gathering of people for the enjoyment of one another company and not for a special occasion. It can mean dinner, or not. It can mean decorations, or not. It can include alcohol, or not. And it can be formal, or not. Hosting means that you decide, you plan, you do the work (or delegate), and it’s at a location of your choice, preferably your home where you can relax and enjoy.

Doing the Work

I know. Hosting a party can be a lot of work but … it doesn’t have to be! Learning to keep it simple and allowing the pleasure of one another’s company to be the center focus is easier than one would think IF, you can learn to let go of a few things. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to be creative. It doesn’t have to be homemade. Giving the bathroom a wipe-over and running the vacuum will help others feel less germ-o-phobic but no one is going to be looking at your baseboards or inside your kitchen cabinets. Asking people to bring a dish to share eliminates a day of cooking and introduces you to different culinary options. Chill out and stay focused on the laughter you’ll generate as you play a round of Cards Against Humanity or belt out a few Karaoke songs.

Theme

Since the goal is to have a party “just because” get-togethers for exchanging something (ornaments, cookies) don’t count; nor do demonstrations like Pampered Chef or Lularoe. The goal is not ‘thing’ related – it’s ‘doing’ related. Get together and engage in comradery. If you absolutely need something to go on – create a theme:

  • Ask people to bring their favorite bottle of wine and do a wine tasting.
  • Ask people to bring a board game and try to play them all.
  • Ask people to bring their favorite dip and snack all night.
  • Ask people to bring a taco topping – provide shells and protein.

Benefits

If you’ve been reading this blog for the last 270 days or so, you’ve no doubt read about the benefits of friendship, laughter, belonging, and doing… hosting a party combines some of the best criteria for positive mental health outcomes so go ahead and look at your calendar … sometime around the middle of January when nothing else is prevalent and …

Host a party… just because.

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

#111 Run or Walk a 5K

We tend to do these kinds of things more frequently if we have moral support in the form of crowds.

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.

#111

Run or Walk a 5K

The weekend before Thanksgiving is approaching and it’s typically a popular weekend for ‘Turkey Trots’ and other big, sponsored runs. Why not make the effort to participate?

Perspective

To put this into perspective – most walkers will complete a 5K in about 45 minutes. It’s only about 6000 steps for the average stride (a piece of cake – or pie – for all of you who seek that 10K step goal) and you’ll burn 300 calories. Running of course, will be faster and burn more calories.

Benefits

While walking a 5K once and only once will feel like an accomplishment to those who participate, making it a regular practice has tons of benefits for you body and mind.

Walking improves your mood.

Walking improves your body strength.

Walking improves your cardiovascular strength.

Walking improves your balance and coordination.

Motivation

Maybe the best thing about these ‘organized’ walk/runs like a 5K is that they motivate us to do it with others – to be ‘a part’ of something. We tend to do these kinds of things more frequently if we have moral support in the form of crowds. It’s easier to participate with someone than if we have to make the decision to get up and out on our own.

So, gather some friends and jumpstart your holidays with something that is good for you…

Run or walk a 5K.

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

#154 Follow the 5 Minute Rule

What tends to happen here is that once we begin to attack something – the enormity of it goes away.

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.

#154

Follow the 5 Minute Rule

About a year ago I ran across Mel Robbins and her explanation of the 5 second rule…. A commitment to start those things you’ve been putting off by counting down 5-4-3-2-1 – and GO. She does a much better job of discussing this and extolling its benefits – it’s worthy of attention if you procrastinate. Interestingly enough, as I was explaining it months later – I confused the concept by describing that we can do anything for 5 minutes so go ahead and … just do it. It’s different than Mel’s strategy but helpful nonetheless.

There are tons of things in our life – on our to-do lists – that we simply don’t want to do… we may dread it or be annoyed by our need to accomplish it. Perhaps it just feels overwhelming. The idea behind the ‘5 minute rule’ is that if spend just five minutes on that item  you are avoiding and still don’t find the wherewithal to keep going – then, stop; redirect and know that you made an effort.

Reality

What tends to happen here is that once we begin to attack something – the enormity of it goes away. We often finish before the five minutes is up, having manifested the ‘thing’ to be much bigger – more challenging – than it actually was. Additionally, after giving something five minutes of our time and attention, we frequently discover that we can keep going; that it isn’t that bad after all or that we’re halfway there.

Try It

As you go throughout your day and face something that feels overwhelming or too cumbersome to attack – consider using this 5 minute rule and step into it with a timer set. Let me know what the result is! I love to hear the successes or challenges when people make an attempt to …

Follow the five minute rule.

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

#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

#182 Do ONE Thing You’ve Been Putting Off

Any time we can promote a personal sense of accomplishment, we instantly feel better about ourselves and about the world 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.

#182

Do one thing  you’ve been putting off

This particular tip will satisfy all three objectives in terms of making your life 1. Easier, 2. Happier, and 3. More Productive.

When we procrastinate, our inner voices often become critical. Criticism is a negative modifier to happiness. Procrastination complicates our life more often than not because it clogs the flow of productivity – contributing to negative self talk – fostering dissatisfaction overall.

If you’ve activated some of the earlier tips about organization and productivity then you may have a master to-do list. What item on that list has been there the longest? What is preventing you from accomplishing that task? What would happen if it were no longer on your list? If you still can’t find the motivation to tackle that task consider the reason it is there in the first place. Perhaps it’s important to reconsider the task in its entirety.

Rethink

I used to have a separate file for each bill that I paid throughout the year in case I needed to access it at a later point in time. I detested the task of filing and the pile would often grow to an unmanageable height – creating another layer of complexity to the concept of task completion. Eventually I realized that in all the years I’d been spending those hours carefully organizing – I’d never had a reason to go back and pull something from those files.

Today, I simply have a box dated for each year and all the papers go into the box – fully unorganized – completely random and IF… I ever need to find something I will spend the hours necessary to find what I need. I’ve saved 20 or more hours with this new – chaotic – but time efficient – system. The best part about this ‘system’ is that I don’t have a pile of papers waiting to be sorted – that pile haunted me every year!

Feel Better

Any time we can promote a personal sense of accomplishment, we instantly feel better about ourselves and about the world in general. It erases feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. It fosters a sense of control and personal power so take a look at your master ‘to-do’ list and identify the item(s) there that you’re procrastinating about most. Decide if the item needs to stay on your list or if there is a different solution. For the items that remain, make a decision today to…

Do ONE thing you’ve been putting off.

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