Archive | December 2012

Quick tips to setting great New Year resolutions

new-years-resolutions

Making resolutions is a cleansing ritual of self assessment and repentance that demands personal honesty and, ultimately, reinforces humility. Eric Zorn

One resolution I have made, and try always to keep, is this: to rise above the little things. John Burroughs

I think in terms of the day’s resolutions, not the year’s.
Henry Moore

Not everyone sets New Year Resolutions because they find it difficult to stick to, maybe they forget or they’re just not that way inclined, but in my opinion having New Year Resolutions sets the tone and direction for the year! This week Happiness Weekly gives you some quick tips to setting the ultimate New Year Resolution list – remember to check back regularly and even aim to refresh these in June! (It should also be mentioned that I think of my resolutions as a wish, so I rarely share my resolutions with anyone – but I will tell you what I did this year to assist you in achieving the same success that I have.)

Select a few mottos to set the tone
The first thing I do when I sit down to choose my resolutions for the year is select three or four mottos which I like to stick to throughout the year. These mottos set the tone for the year and keep me grounded when things feel a little tricky. For example this year I had:
– Be the best I can be every day
– Every challenge is an opportunity
– Expect the best, achieve the best
– Listen hard, learn fast, go far.

Write four key areas for improvement
I then select four key areas in my life that need improvement: Career, Social, Personal and Health and wellbeing. Once I list them, I write one key affirmation for each of them – this points me in the right direction for the year. My affirmations for 2012 were:

Career
I’m a successful high-achiever that has high aspirations and ambitions and can make things happen

Social
People enjoy being around me, I’m popular, sociable and fun

Personal
I am a confident, successful and classy woman – the “full package”

Health
I have a healthy appearance and I have outstanding physical health.

List how you will bring your affirmations to life
I think sit down and think about how I’m going to make that affirmation, under that particular category come true. Each goal needs to be in line with the mottos that I have set. Here’s what I listed in 2012:

Career
– Commit to work – this is my absolute priority, attend every single day and be at my best
– Act where possible, avoid laziness at all times, always take initiative
– Meet as many new people as I can and make the most of every day.

Social
– Be positive at all times, ensure my energy is happy, be encouraging
– Associate with the best of the best: positive professionals with high standards, values, morals and expectations
– Show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are (before trusting, check out their friends)
– Meet up with friends where possible – avoid laziness.

Personal
– Continue to work on how I perceive myself
– Believe in myself. Be myself all the time – if I don’t like who I am, change it so I am
– Achieve total independence, be responsible and accountable at all times
– Stick to my budget at all times, stay creative, always look your best and work to feel your best.

Review your goals in June
Check in regularly to see how you’re going with each of your goals. If you aren’t sure how you’re tracking because these kinds of goals aren’t that easy to track, check back in in June and start writing more solid goals. Keep asking yourself “how will I achieve this?” until you have more specific goals.

How did the year wrap up?
You may have noticed that nothing on my list is particularly direct. I didn’t say I wanted to achieve five or five hundred new girlfriends – I just said I wanted more (not that I don’t have girlfriends or I have a lot of trouble making girlfriends – I tend to get on with most people, but this is an example). Why? This year I made more girlfriends than any other year, and a lot more than I expected. By not having a figure, it enabled me be open minded and satisfied with whatever I did make, which encouraged me to continue working on other goals. I also didn’t mention what kind of girlfriends they would be – would they be acquaintances? Or close social friends? Because it didn’t matter, I was more open to making new girlfriends in both categories which assisted in having stronger relationships with females in general. Having this general, high-level list of New Year resolutions assisted me in setting a separate goals list (which included breaking habits, losing weight and the general things people put on their New Year resolutions list) for the year, without boxing me in and setting me up for failure. The trick to setting New Year resolutions is to be nurturing enough in the way it is done that you actually encourage yourself into keeping them and make it difficult not to achieve but still challenging enough that it needs to be worked towards.

What New Year resolutions do you set each year? Do you check back in? How often? How do you achieve them? When you achieve a New Year resolution, do you celebrate it?

How to make the right decisions – it will shape your life!

decision-making

Every passing minute is another chance to turn it all around. Cameron Crowe

Everything we do and every path we find ourselves on is a direct result of a decision or a choice that we have made. In a world where opportunities are everywhere, possibilities are endless and temptation is never far away, it’s almost essential to have an understanding of your goals, values and what you want in life. This week Happiness Weekly investigates the best way to make a decision to ensure you stay on the right path!

Make a roadmap of your life with goals
Each decision we make will move us in a direction, so it’s important to have goals to guide us and move towards.  This also helps us measure if the decision was correct for us or not – for example, at a very basic level, if it moves you closer to your goals – that was the right decision for you, but if it moves you further from your goals, you may have made the wrong decision.

Set your boundaries and stick to your values
It’s important to know your boundaries and limits and to stick to your values, this also helps us decide which decision is right for us. Some decisions are simple that can lead us to a higher quality of life such as pursuing higher education, finding a better job, improving your health etc. Remember, you need to be able to live with yourself, so it’s advisable to always be true to yourself.

Be proactive
Try to plan and make proactive rather than reactive decisions. Stick with a decision – such as accepting a better job – for as long as you can before changing again. Don’t put off decisions because tomorrow will never come – when it’s tomorrow it’s today! Once you know what you want, and you’ve set your goals, you can start taking the steps necessary to reach those goals. Decide to be happy, decide to look for the best opportunities, decide to love openly… even these decisions will start moving you to a more positive life journey.

Seek advice
There’s no shame in asking your friends what they would do in the situation before making your decision. In fact, there is a fantastic blog by Tiny Buddah where they headed to a public forum to see how other people come to make their decisions. You can read about it here.

Write it down
Sometimes those more difficult decisions seems easier to tackle when they’re on paper. Try writing yourself a list of the pros and cons of each decision outcome. Think long-term as well as short-term and try to work out which moves you closer to where you want to end up.

Think it through and consider any consequences
Take your time thinking it through. Will you be able to live with yourself tomorrow? Ask yourself: what’s the worst that can happen? Look yourself in the mirror and talk it through. Consider if you do/do not do ‘x’, how you will feel. No decision is worth suffering embarrassment, shame, uncertainty or regret. Trust your gut – intuition is key in the decision making process. Consider what your grandparents would say if they knew you choice and once you decide which decision you’re going to go with, consider how you’re feeling – if you’re anxious or stressed, it’s probably not the right decision.

Make an informed decision
Gather as much information, facts and evidence as possible to see how the decision will move you on your journey. Identify the alternatives. Evaluate each choice using your values as a guide. If it hurts you or anyone else, don’t do it!

More motivational quotes about Decision Making

Thoughts lead on to purposes; purposes go forth in action; actions form habits; habits decide character; and character fixes our destiny. Tyron Edwards

There is no problem unless we choose to make it one, so think carefully before you act. David Marshall

It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities. J.K. Rowling

Life is 10% of what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. John Maxwell

Do not plant your dreams in the field of indecision, where nothing ever grows but the weeds of “what-if”. Dodinsky

Still looking for more tips about decision making – make sure you read this fantastic blog “Am I making the right decision? 10 tips for confident decision making” by Ruchira Agrawal.

Question of the week: How do you consider your options when making an important decision?

Why you should be kinder to your colleagues in December

Bekindtocolleagues

There are two kinds of people, those who do the work and those who take the credit. Try to be in the first group; there is less competition there. Indira Gandhi

December is the time when everyone wants a holiday, but not everyone can have one. We’re all tired, we’re all burnt out – but teamwork doesn’t cease because morale is dropping off. If anything, this is the time of year when you should be kinder to your team mates in the office. This week Happiness Weekly looks at why it’s important to be kind to your colleagues, particularly around Christmas time.

1. No one is hiring at this time of year
At a very basic level – you’re stuck with them. Very few companies hire just before Christmas and it’s very difficult to get a new job even if you’re actively looking. If not going on holidays, your colleagues are generally not going anywhere in December, so you might as well accept it now and work to make this month as comfortable as possible for everyone in the office.

2. Expenses are putting a strain on everyone
In case you haven’t noticed, everything has become a lot more expensive and wages are not matching the standard of living. The expense of Christmas on top of everything can cause a real strain on people, so it’s nice to keep in mind that generally in December people are trying the best they can under the stress they feel. Before criticising and judging, it’s always good to keep an open mind and remember you don’t know what you don’t know.

3. One day you may need that colleague’s support
Sometimes it feels easier to assume someone is slacking off and being critical of someone when we’re not looking at the bigger picture. The best way to think about it is that you have been selected to work in the best team possible and a team is only as strong as its weakest link. Don’t let the team down and don’t encourage negativity – you never know when you’re going to need your colleague’s help and support. Keep working hard and achieving your goals, be helpful where you can, and leave others to take responsibility for their workload.

4. Work should be fun, you spend most of your life there
The average person spends around nine hours a day, five days a week with the people in their office. While you don’t need to be best friends with them – there’s no doubt the time will pass faster if you at least get along with those you work with. Additionally, studies show that disagreements with colleagues and bad working relationships deflate morale and impair performance even more than rumours of redundancies. We only live once and life is to be enjoyed, so try to make the most of it. Have fun, spend time with the people you enjoy being with and take a small step back from those you don’t – but still be close enough to get the job done well.

How you can contribute to a happy work environment
- Treat everyone like family
– Say a cheerful “good morning” to the office each morning – in a small office, ensure you don’t leave anyone out
Ask for their opinion on things you’re working on – it makes them feel included
Avoid gossip – don’t start it, don’t continue it, don’t play into it
Give compliments often – too often we focus on what people are doing wrong. Remember to give credit where credit is due – make a point of telling your colleagues publicly on a job well done
- Express your ideas and be punctual – it shows you value the business and people’s time
- Make positive assumptions– don’t assume you are working harder than another team mate because they’re elsewhere or that your boss is clueless. Toxic thinking breeds negative attitudes and makes workplaces miserable. Instead assume everyone is doing their best
– Follow this cubicle etiquette by Peggy Morrow to ensure you are being kind to your co-workers.

Buy presents friends and family will love

ChoosingPresentsPeopleLove

Probably the reason we all go so haywire at Christmas time with the endless unrestrained and often silly buying of gifts is that we don’t quite know how to put our love into words. Harlan Miller

Buying presents for other people shouldn’t be a task but it should be exciting. I’m one of those people who buy’s someone a present and can’t wait to give it to them! Each year I watch as friends and family drag their feet to the shops, without a list, in search of presents for people… this week Happiness Weekly takes the chore out of your Thanks Giving and Christmas shopping and finds the easiest way to buy the perfect presents for your loved ones.

1. Make a list of ideas for each person you need to buy for
The first step in your present shopping should be making a list of everyone you need to buy gifts for and setting a rough budget to stick to. This will also help narrow down the kind of present you can get everyone. With this list, I also tend to brainstorm a few ideas next to each name to point me in the direction of what stores or areas within stores I could look to find the perfect present for that person.

2. Consider their hobbies and interests
Everyone has a hobby or an interest. It’s human nature! Generally we use it as our outlet to express ourselves and reconnect with some time by ourselves. Your task is to find out what the person you are buying for is interested in. Sometimes this can be about asking the right questions and listening for the answer or clue to your perfect present. Get someone something unexpectedly cool, a bit different and quirky but I guarantee they’ll love it! “The gift has to be mainstream enough to be cool, yet unexpected enough to have remained unnoticed,” Jeff Wofford said.

3. Decide what they NEED
If their interest is unusual and you still aren’t sure what to get them, start having a think about what they may need. A petrol voucher, a grocery voucher, a gift certificate to a local beautician, perhaps you can’t stand driving in their car because it’s a mess… a voucher to a local car wash cafe? Think of things they will use and appreciate at the time. This is particularly good for siblings or very busy professionals that tend not to reward themselves.

4. Think outside the square
Combine the practical – the things you know they’ll use – and a hint of your creativity – with the things you know they’ll love. Everyone loves to receive a little survival box or personalised hamper from their loved ones. It’s easy, creative and shows your more thoughtful side. Buy a couple of items associated with their interest, get a photo of you with them, frame it, buy a bottle of alcohol, put it all together with some bath salts or shower gel and you have the perfect hamper for them. Even if they have a few of the items or don’t really need them, they’ll appreciate it because it’s designed especially for them.

5. Be organised!
Everyone wants something – why not take notes and pointers for things they mention throughout the year. Christmas and birthdays are inevitable and if you need to buy something for this person at some stage, this is the easiest way to do it. When it comes time to buy this person a gift, you will already have a list of ideas at the ready.

6. Take into consideration their circumstances
Take their circumstances into consideration for example, avoid buying a $50 gift certificate at a luxury day spa for someone studying at university fulltime and not working. The chances the person will use the gift certificate when it’s not on a specific product or doesn’t cover the full amount of something is not likely. Be realistic when considering the person’s circumstances. Something more practical for this person could be a book voucher, subscription to their favourite magazine or some money to spend at a big department store such as Myer or David Jones where they have plenty of selection for a reasonable price.

7. Get sentimental with older people
When my grandmother, who I was particularly close to, was really old with dementia it became impossible knowing what to get her for Christmas. The previous year I’d made her a scrapbook of the entire family but she didn’t get to look at it much, so this year I was out of ideas. I took a gamble, with nothing in particular in mind, I walked through Borders (now Bookworld) and found a food tray that you could put family photos in and personalise! What a great idea! It was perfect! Practical – but not another nightie – and personalised. Older people do require a bit more thought and care, but they will always enjoy something a bit more sentimental – pictures or even family videos. Sometimes the best, most memorable gift is something that no one else can give.

8. Search online
Still stuck for ideas? Search online – it can be as simple as typing in the person’s gender and age plus “gift ideas” into a Google search and there you have it: a list of ideas and inspiration! There are also gift generators online, so if you’re really stuck you can completely cheat using one of them, but it does take the thought and care out of it. Gifts.com includes some fantastic gift ideas from the experts! And while you’re online, spend some time searching for the gifts you had in mind to ensure they fall within your budget – if it doesn’t, adjust your budget or change the gift to something else.

9. Hit the shops
Now you’ve got the list of people you need to buy for, a list of ideas and a bit of a budget to stick to, it’s time to hit the shops and buy it! If the products you find are outside your budget or far different to what you found online, then hopefully you still have time to go home, order it online and still have it delivered before Thanks Giving or Christmas Day.

Don’t leave it until the last minute – but if you do…
Start shopping for presents as soon as possible. The closer it is to the time, the harder it is to arrange for shipping if you decide to purchase it online, find things in the stores (because they were all taken by the early-birds and the people who don’t work full-time!) and the harder it is to get motivated to actually go out there and do it! If you are shopping at the very last minute, this great Ask Men article may be suitable for you.

Great gift ideas
If the above ideas didn’t help, maybe this list will give the inspiration you need:
– Lessons in something they love: horse riding, pottery classes, cooking, dancing, a musical instrument, flying, ice skating…
– An aromatherapy massage (with a professional) – everyone loves to feel pampered
– Event/Concert tickets
– A novelty gift – something funny to make them laugh
– Something homemade: cookies, cakes, muffins, scrapbook of mementos
– Personalised coupon booklet – you could pay them back all year for being in your life!
– Journal, chocolates, gift certificates/vouchers, anything personalised, hampers/gift baskets, alcohol
– Simple but thoughtful: a poem, craft items or a performance.

December is a great time of year – I hope you have a happy and safe holiday season! Happy shopping!!

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