People are always in such a hurry, especially at this time of year. We rush here and there trying to get everything ready for Christmas and it often seems like we are getting nowhere fast. What we do get, is a lot of stress and frustration.
Christmas should be a time to create new memories with family and friends. We should be able to stop our busy lives, take some time to relax and reflect on what Christmas is all about. Christmas was never meant to be a mad rush to spend a lot of money trying to impress people with lavish gifts. Consumerism has taken the joy away from this wonderful season. We spend more time and money looking for gifts that people don’t really want or will soon lose interest in or even replace with something that is newer or more interesting, than we spend sharing memories with the people we love.
Think about the time you spend shopping versus the time you spend with your families and friends and ask these questions:
- Do you spend more money or more time with your loved ones?
- Do they really need those items you are madly searching for?
- Can you afford those items or will you be paying for them months and years down the road?
- Are you feeling relaxed or stressed?
- Are you happier before, during or after Christmas?
We all need to slow down and stop rushing through life. We all feel pressure to want things to happen immediately and we don’t want to wait for anything. The problem is, we are often disappointed with our lives and in our busyness we miss a lot of what is going on around us. There are so many little, important things that happen when we are too busy to notice: the smile of a child, the chirp of a bird, a beautiful sunset, laughter, acts of kindness.
Are you ready for Christmas or are you still rushing around doing things that are not really that important? Take some time this Christmas to slow down, relax and reflect.
Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. Luke 2:11
Everyone invests their time in something, usually in whatever they are interested in the most. Unfortunately, we don’t always invest our time in the things that are important. Then when we get older, we realize that we have wasted a lot of time doing things that don’t matter and we have regrets.
Many people go through life trying to achieve success by obtaining power or making lots of money. Others spend their lives wasting all their time and money pleasing themselves and just having fun. Then one day they need support from their family and friends and wonder why they are all alone.
I certainly have regrets and wish that I could turn back the clock. Many hours, days and weeks were wasted doing things that don’t even matter now.
- Time spent working extra hours to make more money instead of going home and spending time with my family
- Time spent working on projects that didn’t pan out and have long been forgotten
- Time spent feeling sorry for myself instead of feeling sorry for other people and helping them out
- Time spent reading books that filled up time and didn’t teach me anything valuable
- Time spent watching TV programs and movies that filled up my mind with total garbage
Think carefully about what you spend your time doing.
- Is it something that has value or something that is wasting your time?
- Is it something that makes you a better person or does it lead you away from the important things in life?
- Is it something that blesses other people or does it only please yourself?
- Is it something that leads you where you want to be or is it leading you down a dead-end street?
Whatever you surround yourself with now will likely be what surrounds you in the future. Make some positive changes in your life now and invest time in things of value.
Having too much stuff can create chaos in your life. Stuff stresses us out. It frustrates us. It drains our energy. It can make it hard for us to get organized.
Most of us collect things, like antiques, books, coins, cards and so on. Collecting things is fun and we can display them so they can easily be seen and enjoyed by ourselves and others. However, when we start collecting many different things and putting them in piles so we can’t even find things or have no idea where we put something, this is when clutter happens and chaos starts.
When we have so much stuff that it drags us back to the past or ahead to the future, we can’t really live in the present and enjoy our lives. People keep things that remind them of important things that happened in the past (newspaper clippings, photos, something that was owned by a loved one, a child’s toy). People also keep things that they may need in the future, afraid to part with anything that might be of some value. It is certainly okay to keep memories and anything that may be useful to us but when it gets out of control, it results in an unhealthy living environment.
Clutter is unhealthy. Dust, mold and animal dander collect and can cause breathing problems. Bugs and mice are also attracted to cluttered areas where they can live and breed. Clutter is also a fire hazard and could hamper rescue efforts, sometimes resulting in death for the inhabitant and also the firemen.
If you have too much stuff, ask yourself what kind of life you want to live. Do you want your stuff to control you or do you want to control your stuff? Create a new vision for your life that is calm and easygoing, one that has less stress. Talk to yourself in words that are encouraging and hopeful. Tell yourself that you are far more valuable than your stuff and you deserve to live in healthy, stress-free conditions. Make a promise to yourself that you will start making some positive changes in your life, starting with cleaning up the clutter.
Ask yourself why you are keeping certain items. One of the big items people keep is old newspapers because they might read them someday. Chances of reading them are slim to none and why would you want to read old news anyway? Besides, half of the newspaper is ads and they have absolutely no value once the sales are over. Keeping them is just creating a mess and a possible fire hazard. Another big item is keeping plastic bags for garbage. We can only use so many garbage bags and they also just create a mess and possible fire hazard.
Pick one area and spend an hour or two a day working at it. You can’t do it all at once, so don’t even try. It will take time and patience but if you are committed to having a better life, you WILL be able to do it. If you need help and you can afford it, contact a company that does organizing/de-cluttering. Let’s face it, if you could afford to buy all that stuff, you would be better off using your money getting rid of the clutter instead of bringing more into your home.
Put things where they belong. If you have dishes or groceries in the bedroom, move them to the kitchen. Books should be in a bookcase, not piled on the floor. Clothing should be in a closet or dresser. Clutter tends to become a pile of anything and everything as space gets limited in the rooms where things belong. Then when you can’t find things, you go out an buy more to replace stuff that is lying in a pile somewhere.
Make a promise to yourself that when you get something new, you will get rid of something old. Of course, this doesn’t apply to things like food unless you are keeping expired cans or food that is rotting. If you enjoy reading, you don’t need to keep hundreds of books; go to the library and save some money. If you like new clothing or fancy jewelry, donate your old items to goodwill. You don’t need a new outfit to wear every day for the next 20 years.
Make an appointment with yourself to de-clutter. It can’t be done all at one time so do it in small time frames that are manageable. Do one or two hours a day and soon you will start to see some progress. If you want more ideas, check out some sites that help with clutter removal. There are lots!
Remove the clutter in your life and you will start to feel better. As someone who helps people de-clutter, I can tell you that when the job is done, we almost always see a smile on their faces and there is an obvious sense of relief. Happy de-cluttering!
Everyone has regrets. Being human causes us to say or do things that we wish we hadn’t said or done. This can cause relationship problems with our families, friends, co-workers and any else we come into contact with. We have to think carefully before we speak or put our words into actions. We can also regret NOT saying something to a loved one or NOT doing something that we dreamed about or following a goal.
In different studies, people were asked what their biggest regrets in life were. Many of these people were older or dying and they all seemed to have similar regrets. Here are the top five listed:
- I wish I hadn’t spent my life trying to live up to other people’s expectations. We all want other people to like us and we will do our best to fit in even if it takes away our own uniqueness. We believe the lie that if we make other people happy than we will have lots of friends and be happy. Our childhood dreams drift away and are forgotten.
- I wish I hadn’t worked so much. We all need to make money so we can survive, but money doesn’t buy happiness. Working long hours robs people of valuable time they could have spent with their family and friends. Sadly all the money they accumulated does not replace a close, loving relationship.
- I wish I had told people how I felt about them. Many people try to hide their feelings or don’t know how to show their love to others. This can send a wrong message to their loved ones that they don’t care which will cause them to go through life feeling unloved, unwanted and unappreciated.
- I wish I had worked harder on my relationships. Life can become so busy that we don’t take the time to keep in touch with family and friends. Special occasions often get missed because people can’t find the time to get together. Even families can have so many activities going on, that they rarely share a meal or spend much time together. As we get older, we have more time, but it may be too late to re-connect with people that we have pushed aside for so long.
- I wish that I had made the choice to be happy. Many of us don’t realize that we have the choice as to whether we will be happy or unhappy. Of course, life happens and there are situations that will cause us pain and misery. But even during difficult situations, we still have the choice as to how we can react. We can remain in our pain and dwell on the negatives in our life or we can deal with the pain and move on with a positive attitude.
The problem is, many people live their lives, not paying attention to the fact that life is passing them by and soon they will have regrets. Start this new year right, think about what is important in your life and then take action.
- Work hard, but not so hard that you don’t have time for your loved ones.
- Live up to your own expectations and follow your dreams.
- Tell your family and friends how much you care about them.
- Build strong relationships.
- Choose to be happy.
Make 2016 a year of fewer regrets!
- spend lots of time with your family and friends (and not lots of money on worthless presents)
- give thanks for what you have (and don’t be unhappy for things you don’t have)
- show love and kindness to everyone you know (even those people you don’t particularly like)
- forgive people who have hurt you (and forgive yourself for hurting others)
- think the best of everyone (not the worst)
Most importantly, remember what Christmas is all about. We are celebrating the birth of Jesus and praising God for His wonderful gift to the world. May you all experience peace and joy in this Christmas celebration.
Have yourself a merry little Christmas!
Most people know that if you want a garden to look beautiful, it requires a lot of care. You have to plant good seeds in fertile soil and water them regularly. Once the plants, flowers, shrubs, bushes and trees start growing, you have to provide them with continuous care, pulling any weeds out and pruning back any overgrown branches. It takes work and you can’t neglect caring for the garden or it will soon become overgrown with weeds and lose its beauty. Then it will slowly wither and die.
People are like gardens. If we have had good seeds planted in our lives and have been cared for regularly, we will flourish and grow. As a child, our parents and other people around us start planting seeds that will either make our garden of life beautiful or unattractive. Positive seeds of love, encouragement and support will help us create a beautiful character that will help us achieve success in our lives. Negative seeds of neglect, abuse and despair will help us create an unattractive character that will hold us back from reaching our goals or even having any.
What is growing in your garden? Have positive or negative seeds been planted? Are YOU planting positive or negative seeds?
It doesn’t matter what has been planted in your garden up to this point. If positive seeds have been planted, that is awesome! Keep growing! However, if negative seeds have been planted, don’t despair. YOU can start planting positive seeds in your own life and the lives of others. How?
- determine where those negative seeds came from so you are aware of why you think and act the way you do
- start changing the way you talk to yourself – stop that negative thinking and replace it with positive thinking
- say positive affirmations to yourself every day and learn to appreciate yourself
- write down a list of your strengths, abilities and skills
- increase the time you spend with positive people and decrease the time you spend with negative people
- always look for the good in people and situations instead of the bad
Work hard to create a more positive perspective on life and build your confidence so you can find the happiness and success you are looking for. Visit my website at http://www.imconfident.com for more information.
Teaching our children to have manners is important but teaching them to be thankful can benefit them in more ways than just saying ‘please and thank-you’. Being thankful helps us live a better life because we are looking for the positives in life instead of the negatives.
Studies have shown that people who are thankful tend to be happier and more confident. They are able to deal with difficult situations in a positive way and make better decisions. They have better relationships and treat others with respect. They are less likely to be depressed or anxious.
When children are taught to appreciate what they have and are able to understand that everything in life doesn’t come easily, they are less apt to be selfish, self-centered individuals.
So how can we teach our kids to be thankful? Here are 10 suggestions:
- Be a thankful role model. Children learn best from our example. They are always watching us and will often imitate what they see. Show them that you are thankful for all the wonderful things in your life. Be polite to others people and show courtesy and respect. “Thank-you for listening to me.” “I’m so thankful for my nice warm bed.” “Thanks for cleaning up your room.”
- Expect your children to show good manners. Children should say please and thank-you. They should sit at the table until everyone has finished their meal. They should be quiet when an elderly family member is sleeping. They should write thank-you letters when they receive a gift. Gently remind your children when they forget to be polite.
- Have a special ‘thankful’ meal every week. Start the meal with a simple grace and then ask everyone to share something that they are thankful for.
- Keep a gratitude journal. Encourage your children to write down things they are thankful for and then have a gratitude day where everyone can share their thoughts.
- Make a gratitude jar. Write down things you are thankful for on slips of paper and put them in the jar. Pick a special time to pull them out and read them.
- Play gratitude charades. Have everyone think of something they are thankful for and act it out. If you are thankful for having a puppy, walk on all fours. If you are thankful for having good food to eat, pretend you are cooking. Be creative.
- Tell your children how thankful you are that they are in your family. Tell them how thankful you are for their smile, their hugs, their special way of doing (something).
- Refrain from giving your children too many material things and encourage them to save their allowance or get a job to pay for any special items they may want. This teaches them to appreciate the value of money and hard work.
- Encourage them to donate their time or money to help a worthy cause. Help them understand that many people are struggling and need someone to help them. Allow them to feel the positive energy of helping others.
- Catch them complaining and try to help them find something to be grateful for. If they are complaining about not getting a new toy or the latest technology, have them make a list about the great things they already have.
- Read stories and watch movies about gratitude. This will reinforce what you are teaching them and help them see things from a different perspective.
- Bake cookies for your neighbours, your school or place of work and attach a note telling them how thankful you are for knowing them.
It doesn’t matter if your children are 2 years old or 42 years old, you can still help them become more thankful by being a positive role model.
The first recipe for happiness is: avoid too lengthy meditation on the past. ~Andre Maurois
Everyone has a past and it leads us to where we are today. Our past leaves a mark on us and provides us with valuable lessons. However, our past can become a huge burden on our lives if we allow our mistakes and failures to define who we are. If we keep focusing on past events and drag them with us everywhere we go, we can become slaves to our past and not be able to enjoy our lives.
We have all done things in our past that we are not proud of. We should accept our mistakes and learn from them. We can’t change what we did but we can change what we do in the future. Making a mistake does not make us a failure. Quitting makes us a failure so we should always keep trying to better ourselves. Dwelling on past mistakes will just stop us from living a full, rewarding life today.
Many people have been treated badly in the past and they feel that there is something wrong with them. They define themselves by this event and think they are less valuable than other people. This is wrong! When people hurt us, they are hurting themselves and their actions are a reflection of their own pain. It has nothing to do with us and it is wrong to believe that we are responsible for their actions. We have to stop being slaves to these past events and refuse to allow them to keep hurting us.
Everything in the past has already happened and it does not have to affect our future. We may have had a bad habit or addiction. We may have hurt someone with our words or actions. We may have been abused or abandoned. We are definitely shaped by our past but we are NOT defined by it. We CAN move past these things and into something that is much greater.
- We need to stop focusing on the past and start focusing on today
- We need to stop thinking negative thoughts and start thinking positive thoughts
- We need to stop telling ourselves that there is something wrong with us and start telling ourselves that we are great just the way we are
- We need to stop telling ourselves that we are a failure and start telling ourselves that even though we make mistakes, we are learning and growing
Many successful people today have gone through tremendous difficulties and pain in their past, but they were able to overcome their adversities and make a difference in their lives and the lives of other people. Jim Carrey was homeless as a teen, Bill Gates failed in his first business attempt, Bethany Hamilton lost her arm in a shark attack, Oprah Winfrey was raped at 9 and became pregnant at 14, Richard Branson has dyslexia and I could go on and on.
Never feel that your past defines you. It doesn’t matter what you did or what happened to you. You have great abilities, strengths and characteristics. Every day you can make a fresh start and work on developing a new character. Build your confidence and increase your self-esteem so you can feel good about who you are. Visit my website http://www.imconfident.com for more information on confidence building.
Successful people maintain a positive focus in life no matter what is going on around them. They stay focused on their past successes rather than their past failures, and on the next action steps they need to take to get them closer to the fulfillment of their goals, rather than all the other distractions that life presents to them. ~Jack Canfield
It is very important that we think about how we talk to ourselves. Words are very powerful and they can affect us in a positive or negative way. If we are speaking to someone and want to make a good impression, we are usually very careful with our words. We don’t want people to think we are insulting them or criticizing them. Yet when we speak to ourselves, we often use words that are demeaning, unkind or damaging. We tell ourselves that we are stupid, worthless and insignificant. The voice in our mind keeps reminding us that there is something wrong with us. Over and over again we repeat these false beliefs until they are so ingrained in our brain that the truth is obscured.
We should never use negative words when we talk to ourselves. Telling ourselves that we are stupid or worthless is just not true. We all have our flaws and imperfections and of course we do things wrong and make mistakes. However, we are all in the same boat and nobody is any worse or better than anyone else. There are enough people in the world that will tear us down because of their own insecurities, so we don’t have to help them. Instead of tearing ourselves down, we should be telling ourselves what awesome abilities and characteristics we have.
- Make a list of your abilities, strengths and positive character traits. Focus on these instead of your weaknesses and negative character traits.
- Then create some positive statements or affirmations that you can repeat every day. Start them with ‘I’ (I am a good friend, I like to smile, I am going to be nice to someone today, I am going to have a good day). Say these statements first thing in the morning and also during the day so you can create a habit of positive thinking.
- Pay attention to your thoughts. Catch any negative thoughts and stop them from becoming negative words or actions. Think of a positive thought that can replace the negative thought.
Changing your thinking will also change the way you talk. It isn’t easy and it takes time but once you start thinking positive thoughts, you will stop hurting yourself and be able to enjoy your life.
So, how do you talk to yourself?