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What We REALLY Want For Christmas

What We REALLY Want For Christmas

christmas tree

    Stores are busy right now.  Maybe people aren’t buying as much as in past years but they’re buying nonetheless.  Everyone is in the spirit of giving, but deep down also looking forward to receiving.  The common denominator here is “things” and “stuff”.  Now, I’m all for making people happy and seeing the smile on their face when they open an exciting gift – that really brings me joy.  And, of course, I love receiving a gift from someone special, but life experience has taught me that this “stuff” cannot really bring what most of us want for Christmas.

    Over the past twenty years or so our culture has been quite ego-based.  We always wanted something from other people or situations.  There was often a hidden agenda, always a sense of “not enough yet” or lack that needed to be filled.  Sometimes we used people and situations to get what we wanted and even when we succeeded, we were never satisfied for long.  The famous song, “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” is the song that describes this best.  Then the crisis hit.

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    People who felt secure and successful suddenly found themselves jobless.  The houses, cars, and/or businesses were gone.  It was the biggest shock many of us have felt in our lives.  However, something beautiful has come from this.  People have begun to realize that they can live with less and that they are actually happier with their more simple life.  People realized that they were putting too much pressure on themselves to get this or that or achieve this or that.

    Parents have begun to become more creative with the activities they do with their families; instead of going on an expensive vacation, they are going on more hikes and picnics and spending more time in nature.  Family has become the centre of life again, not work.

    Many people have started a new job or career in an area they always wanted to, but were too scared to try.  They are beginning to make money doing what they love instead of what they thought they “should” be doing.

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    From lemons did come lemonade.  It was time for these things to change and for us to start living according to what we value.

    To delve into this more, I suggest writing down your top five values and once this is done, take an honest look at your life as it is now.  If an outsider were to look at your life would they be able to see what you truly value?

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    Now write down ways, and think outside the box here, that you could rearrange your life so that you knew with 100% of your being that your life reflected your values.  We often put road blocks up here, or our egoic fears start jumping in, but just move past them and think what the new year could look like and most importantly FEEL like.

    Some ideas to consider are:

    1. Downsizing to one car
    2. Downsizing your home
    3. Providing your boss with a proposal showing how you could work one day from home (which would ensure that you eat both breakfast and dinner with your family)
    4. Waking up 1/2 an hour earlier to work out
    5. Plan a date night with your husband or wife once a month
    6. Ask for a job transfer so that you work closer to home
    7. Plan a one-on-one activity with each of your children every month
    8. Create a new family tradition.  For example: After dinner you turn on some classical or soft music and each reads a book for 30 mins OR one person reads aloud a  chapter from a novel for 30 minutes.
    9. Brainstorm a way you can be generous at least one time per month.  Example: Babysit for a friend on a Friday night or offer to shovel someone’s sidewalk one day.
    10. Regularly buy fresh flowers for your home

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    We’ve come a long way as a culture.  Things can only get better in our family lives and communities if we continue on this great wave of thinking and living.

    So, this Christmas, spend thoughtfully, enjoy the holiday fully, and give yourself and your family the best gift yet – a less-stressed, more blissful life.  It’s what we truly want, isn’t it?

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    Last Updated on July 9, 2019

    How to Stay Motivated and Reach Your Big Goals in Life

    How to Stay Motivated and Reach Your Big Goals in Life

    It is hardly a secret that the key to successfully accomplishing one goal after another is staying motivated. There are, of course, tasks which successful people may not like at all, yet they find motivation to complete them because they recognize how each particular task serves a greater goal.

    So how to stay motivated most of the time? Here are 5 simple yet effective ways on how to stay motivated and get what you want:

    1. Find the Good Reasons

    Anything you do, no matter how simple, has a number of good reasons behind it.

    You may not be able to find good reasons to do some tasks at first but, if you take just a few moments to analyze them, you will easily spot something good. We also have many tasks which don’t need any reasoning at all – we’ve been doing them for so long that they feel natural.

    If you’re ever stuck with some tasks you hate and there seems to be no motivation to complete it whatsoever, here’s what you need to do: find your good reasons.

    Even when you set goals, there needs to be reasons behind these goals. They may not be obvious, but stay at it until you see some, as this will bring your motivation back and will help you finish the task.

    Some ideas for what a good reason can be:

    • A material reward – quite often, you will get paid for doing something you normally don’t like doing at all.
    • Personal gain – you will learn something new or will perhaps improve yourself in a certain way.
    • A feeling of accomplishment – at least you’ll be able to walk away feeling great about finding the motivation and courage to complete such a tedious task.
    • A step closer to your bigger goal – even the biggest accomplishments in history have started small and relied on simple and far less pleasant tasks than you might be working on. Every task you complete brings you closer to the ultimate goal, and acknowledging this always feels good.

    2. Make It Fun

    When it comes to motivation, attitude is everything. Different people may have completely opposite feelings towards the same task: some will hate it, others will love it.

    Why do you think this happens? It’s simple: some of us find ways to make any task interesting and fun to do!

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    Take sports for example. Visiting your local gym daily for a half-an-hour workout session sounds rather boring to some. Yet many others love the idea!

    They like exercising not only because they recognize the good reasons behind it, but simply because it’s fun! At certain time of their daily schedule, they find going to gym to be the best thing to do, simply because nothing else will fit their time and lifestyle so perfectly.

    Depending on how you look at it, you can have fun doing just about anything! Just look for ways of having fun, and you’ll find them!

    A simple approach is to start working on any task by asking yourself a few questions:

    • How can I enjoy this task?
    • What can I do to make this task fun for myself and possibly for others?
    • How can I make this work the best part of my day?

    As long as you learn to have the definite expectation of any task being potentially enjoyable, you will start to feel motivated.

    Some of you will probably think of a thing or two which are valid exceptions from this statement, like something you always hate doing no matter how hard you try making it fun. You’re probably right, and that’s why I don’t claim everything to be fun.

    However, most tasks have a great potential of being enjoyable, and so looking for ways to have fun while working is definitely a good habit to acquire.

    3. Take a Different Approach

    When something doesn’t feel right, it’s always a good time to take a moment and look for a different approach for the task.

    You may be doing everything correctly and most efficiently, but such approach isn’t necessarily the most motivating one. Quite often, you can find a number of obvious tweaks to your current approach which will both change your experience and open up new possibilities.

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    That’s why saying “one way or another” is so common — if you really want to accomplish your goal, there is always a way; and most likely, there’s more than one way.

    If a certain approach doesn’t work for you, find another one, and keep trying until you find the one which will both keep you motivated and get you the desired results.

    Some people think that trying a different approach means giving up. They take pride in being really stubborn and refusing to try any other options on their way towards the goal.

    My opinion on this is that the power of focus is great, but you should be focusing on your goal, and not limiting your options by focusing on just one way to accomplish it it.

    4. Recognize Your Progress

    Everything you may be working on can be easily split into smaller parts and stages. For most goals, it is quite natural to split the process of accomplishing them into smaller tasks and milestones. There are a few reasons behind doing this, and one of them is tracking your progress.

    We track our progress automatically with most activities. But to stay motivated, you need to recognize your progress, not merely track it.

    Here’s how tracking and recognizing your progress is different:

    Tracking is merely taking a note of having reached a certain stage in your process. Recognizing is taking time to look at a bigger picture and realize where exactly you are, and how much more you have left to do.

    For example, if you’re going to read a book, always start by going through the contents table. Getting familiar with chapter titles and memorizing their total number will make it easier for you to recognize your progress as you read. Confirming how many pages your book has before starting it is also a good idea.

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    You see, reading any book you will be automatically looking at page numbers and chapter titles, but without knowing the total number of pages, this information will have little meaning.

    Somehow, it is human nature to always want things to happen in short term or even at once. Even though we split complex tasks into simpler actions, we don’t quite feel the satisfaction until all is done and the task is fully complete.

    For many scenarios though, the task is so vast that such approach will drain all the motivation out of you long before you have a chance to reach your goal. That’s why it is important to always take small steps and recognize the positive different and progress made. This is how your motivation can sustain in long term.

    5. Reward Yourself

    This is a trick everyone likes: rewarding yourself is always pleasant. This is also one of the easiest and at the same time most powerful ways to stay motivated!

    Feeling down about doing something? Dread the idea of working on some task? Hate the whole idea of working? You’re not alone.

    Right from the beginning, agree on some deliverables which will justify yourself getting rewarded. As soon as you get one of the agreed results, take time to reward yourself in some way.

    For some tasks, just taking a break and relaxing for a few minutes will do.

    For others, you may want to get a fresh cup of coffee and even treat yourself a dessert.

    For even bigger and more demanding tasks, reward yourself by doing something even more enjoyable, like going to a cinema or taking a trip to some place nice, or even buying yourself something.

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    Your progress may not seem to others like anything worth celebrating but, take time and do it anyway! It is your task and your reward, so any ways to stay motivated are good.

    The more you reward yourself for the honestly made progress, the more motivated you will feel about reaching new milestones, thus finally accomplishing your goal.

    Mix and Match

    Now that you have these five ways of staying motivated, it is a good moment to give you the key to them all: mix and match!

    Pick one of the techniques and apply it to your situation. If it doesn’t work, or if you simply want to get more motivated, try another technique right way. Mix different approaches and match them to your task for the best results.

    Just think about it: Finding good reasons to work on your task is bound to helping you feel better; and identifying ways to make it fun will help you enjoy the task even more.

    Or, if you plan a few points for easier tracking of your progress and on top of that, agree on rewarding yourself as you go; this will make you feel most motivated about anything you have to work through.

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    Featured photo credit: Lucas Lenzi via unsplash.com

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