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Six Sizzling Suggestions to Make Valentine’s Day Last All Year

Six Sizzling Suggestions to Make Valentine’s Day Last All Year

    It’s that month again.

    Does your heart leap at the prospect of astonishing your partner with a date that will set their world on fire? I didn’t think so.

    All that pressure to be romantic focussed on one little day can feel like more of a burden than anything else. You can sulk all you want but declaring that you don’t believe in the whole consumerist conspiracy rarely gets you off the hook unless your beloved shares that same philosophy.

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    It is possible that you are so romantic all year round that your partner feels sorry for the poor schmucks who are waiting for their annual dose of hearts and flowers. But by following these sizzling suggestions, next year you might actually achieve that goal.

    1. Think outside the box (of candy)

    Take the road less travelled. As I mentioned in my post on how to buy awesome holiday gifts, one of the keys to giving gifts is to think about what your partner appreciates as opposed to just giving what is traditional or expected. While my personal opinion is that one can never get enough flowers, I would far rather receive a back rub than a box of candy. More appreciation and less money spent. It’s a win-win. Plus you always get points for appearing to have put some thought and effort into what to get, even if you might not succeed in procuring the perfect gift.

    2. Express yourself

    If you feel like saying, “Screw you, greeting card manufacturers. I’m not your bitch,” go right ahead.

    You don’t have to buy a card if you don’t want to. However, you could make one. If you’re a parent you can steal ideas (and crayons) from your kids; it doesn’t have to be perfect. In fact, the deployment of well-intentioned yet artistically challenged art skills can be pretty charming. Of course, you could always delegate by commissioning a card from your nearest kindergartener if you don’t want to do it yourself. You can even dispense with the whole card completely and write a poem or a letter of appreciation instead. But not a virtual one and certainly not a Valentine’s Tweet, please.

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    3. Check please

    While it’s traditional to go out for dinner on Valentine’s Day, who really appreciates paying through the nose for a set meal in a very over-crowded restaurant? I’d certainly rather go there on another night when the choice of reservation is better than either 5pm or 9.45pm — perched precariously on a high top which is what I was offered today.

    4. Budget bistro

    Just because you’re on a budget, doesn’t mean you have to give up the idea of a romantic dinner. How about cooking instead, maybe even together and splurging on a really nice bottle of wine? You don’t have to worry about driving (or parking).

    Can’t cook? Not a problem. Have you ever thought about hiring or bartering with a friend to do it for you instead? If you know another couple, you could even do a trade off where you guys take turns cooking, serving dinner and doing the dishes for each other.

    5. Afternoon delight

    You always hear relationship experts tell you that you need a date night, but after a long day of work plus kids and by the time you have been out to dinner and movie, sleep is probably the big S on your mind. Avoid this issue by changing your Valentine’s date night to daylight. Pick a weekend day and if you have children, arrange play-dates or hire a sitter to take the children out of the house for at least three hours. With the house to yourselves, take advantage by having a romantic indoor picnic together. To spice things up even more, how about taking things into the bedroom? Bring a blindfold and take turns feeding each other for a taste test to rekindle all your senses.

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    6. Strangers in the night

    This is quite the fire-starter, especially when you have been together for a long time and/or are married. Arrange to meet at a bar that neither of you have been to, a hotel bar is ideal for the purpose of this exercise (plus it gives you extra options about what you do next!).

    Without discussing any details beforehand, you are each going to invent an alter-ego, complete with name, age, etc. Venture outside the box a little and experiment playing the role of someone who has a little different lifestyle to your own. For example, if you are a stay-at-home mom, you might pretend to be a traveling sales executive and power dress in heels and a business suit – perhaps with racy lingerie underneath.

    When you arrive at the bar, pull up a stool, order a drink and wait to be approached by a handsome, mysterious stranger. Play hard to get or flirt like mad, the choice is yours – what’s even more fun is when the guy on a business trip sitting next to you is eavesdropping on the conversation and just can’t believe what he’s hearing – especially when you decide its time to leave together!

    Hack Valentine’s Day

    It’s hard to conjure romance on demand. You would think that the better you know somebody, the easier it would get, but conversely it often seems that the longer you have been together, the harder it is. Added to the fact that we are all so busy and pretty tired, pulling off the date of the year on a school night can seem like a tall order.

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    But fear not, my lovelies. You came to the right place. Try these suggestions and you will hack Valentine’s Day; in fact you may just find the romance lasts all year.

    (Photo credit: two valentine’s paper hearts via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on January 21, 2020

    The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

    The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

    Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

    your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

      Why You Need a Vision

      Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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      How to Create Your Life Vision

      Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

      What Do You Want?

      The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

      It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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      Some tips to guide you:

      • Remember to ask why you want certain things
      • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
      • Give yourself permission to dream.
      • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
      • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

      Some questions to start your exploration:

      • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
      • What would you like to have more of in your life?
      • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
      • What are your secret passions and dreams?
      • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
      • What do you want your relationships to be like?
      • What qualities would you like to develop?
      • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
      • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
      • What would you most like to accomplish?
      • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

      It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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      What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

      Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

      A few prompts to get you started:

      • What will you have accomplished already?
      • How will you feel about yourself?
      • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
      • What does your ideal day look like?
      • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
      • What would you be doing?
      • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
      • How are you dressed?
      • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
      • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
      • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

      It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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      Plan Backwards

      It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

      • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
      • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
      • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
      • What important actions would you have had to take?
      • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
      • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
      • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
      • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
      • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

      Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

      It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

      Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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