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So You’ve Never Cooked Before? It’s Not Too Late To Start

So You’ve Never Cooked Before? It’s Not Too Late To Start

When I was little, I remember being in awe of my mother’s cooking talents. And while I loved her legendary lemon meringue pie and other sweet treats, what really amazed me were the nights we’d have meat and vegetables for dinner.

She was able to get so many parts ready so they were all cooked at the same time—the peas, the potatoes and the lamb chops or sausages. If this sounds impossible, it will be. But if you’re just willing to try, it’s really not hard to learn to make sandwiches and salads. From there, you’ll be baking cakes and cooking pasta.

But it all comes from one thing: being willing to try.

Here are five pieces of advice for how to get started today, even if you’ve never cooked before.

1. Decide that you can cook.

Like anything in life, if you don’t think you’ll be able to do it, it’s probably not going to happen. So this first reason is deceptively simple, but crucial.

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You can cook. And one day you might even be able to say you love to cook.

2. Accept that failure IS an option.

Take some advice from a culinary master of a restaurant that’s been ranked one of the best in the world. One of the things that Danish chef Rene Redzepi is passionate about is for his chefs at Noma to “fail” or have disasters from time to time. His philosophy is that if you aren’t failing then you’re not trying hard enough.

People that love to cook know that there are going to be things that don’t work out. It’s expected. Surely if it happens to the best chefs in the world, it’s okay for it to happen to you.

3. Make a salad for yourself.

When you’re in the right headspace and it’s time to actually touch some food, the good news is you don’t need to invest a small fortune on a new set of knives. You don’t even need a kitchen really. A knife and a chopping board can be helpful but they aren’t essential. With limited utensils you could easily toss together a tuna and chili salad. All you need is a can of tuna in chili oil to mix with a bag of pre-washed salad leaves and a lemon for extra flavor.

4. Make a salad for someone else.

One of the things you’ll start loving about cooking is the opportunity to nurture your loved ones. There’s nothing as rewarding as sharing something you’ve made with your own two hands.

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The secret is that your meal doesn’t need to be anything fancy. A lovely fresh salad will suffice. And once you’ve had that feeling, it will motivate you to keep cooking.

5. Try some soup.

Soup has to be one of the most underrated meals, and also one of the most forgiving. This makes it the perfect place to start playing with fire, so to speak.

All you need is a pot to cook in and some sort of heat source. The good news is that a tasty soup doesn’t need to be simmering on the stove all day. In fact, you can get a really lovely soup on the table in as little as 10 minutes.

A very simple white bean and tomato soup is perfect to try on a stove top, but there’s no reason you couldn’t whip it up in your microwave at work. Feel free to dress it up with a little pesto or some finely sliced proscuitto or even a handful of fresh basil.

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White Bean Soup

    White Bean and Tomato Soup Recipe

    Enough for 2

    1 can white beans (400g /14oz)

    1 jar tomato pasta sauce (or even canned tomatoes)

    Parmesan cheese, to serve, optional

    1. Combine the beans, the bean canning liquid and the tomato in a heat proof bowl (or 2 bowls).

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    2. Heat in a saucepan on the stove until hot. Alternatively, microwave for 3-4 minutes or until very hot.

    3. Taste. Season. Serve with parmesan shaved over the top, if using.

    Featured photo credit: Jules Clancy via flickr.com

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    Last Updated on September 16, 2019

    How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

    How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

    You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

    We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

    The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

    Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

    1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

    Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

    For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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    • (1) Research
    • (2) Deciding the topic
    • (3) Creating the outline
    • (4) Drafting the content
    • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
    • (6) Revision
    • (7) etc.

    Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

    2. Change Your Environment

    Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

    One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

    3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

    Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

    Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

    My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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    Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

    4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

    If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

    Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

    I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

    5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

    I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

    Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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    As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

    6. Get a Buddy

    Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

    I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

    7. Tell Others About Your Goals

    This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

    For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

    8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

    What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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    9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

    If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

    Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

    10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

    Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

    Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

    11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

    At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

    Reality check:

    I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

    More About Procrastination

    Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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