imconfident

I sincerely believe that it is far more beneficial and far less costly to help a child build confidence than it is to fix an adult who has little or none.

Are you ready for Christmas?

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

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More often means less

We are all driven to believe that if we have more stuff, more power, more money, more anything, that we will be happier.  When are people going to realize that having more does not bring happiness?

At this time in history, we have access to more choices than ever before.  We can have almost anything we want.  Yet depression, anxiety and stress are growing.  We have more stuff but less happiness.  More money but more debt.  More power but feel powerless.  More toys but less fun.

We need to realize that happiness comes from within.  It is how we feel about ourselves and our inner strength.  We can’t buy happiness, gain it through other people or create it from things that aren’t real.

If you want more out of life, start focusing on what is important.  What do you have that adds joy to your life?  What are you passionate about?  What are the things that just take up your time and only bring stress?  Try to eliminate anything that is basically wasting your time and adding no value to your life.  Set your priorities and invest time in those areas.

Life is short.  Make the most of the time you have and have more of what is important.

 

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Where does happiness come from?

Have you ever wondered why some people who seem to have everything in life are unhappy, yet other people who have little or nothing seem to be bursting with joy?

People who have lots of money and possessions feel that something is missing.  People who have good looks have trouble making good relationships.  People who have power feel powerless.   People who are surrounded by friends feel alone.  There are so many people in the world who appear to have great lives but they are extremely unhappy and unfulfilled.  On the other hand, people who live in poverty and struggle each day with hunger and sickness are often the happiest people you will meet.

Why does this happen?  Because things of this world are temporary and can only give temporary satisfaction.  Reaching for material things to bring happiness will never give you what you are looking for.  You can have the perfect life, the perfect house, the perfect job, the perfect family and you still won’t be happy.  Of course, it really isn’t possible to have perfection in a world that is far from perfect.  When you look for happiness in objects, they will never be enough.  You have to look inside you and around you.

Happiness comes from being confident in who you are, not who you want to be or what you have.  It is:

  • knowing that you have great abilities and qualities that make you different from anyone else
  • being thankful for what you have and not desiring things you don’t need
  • understanding that you were created to be special and unique
  • wanting to help other people and guide them towards a better way of life
  • being a positive role model
  • having faith in someone bigger than yourself

We all can choose everyday to be happy or not to be happy.  It is all how we look at the world around us and what we do with the gifts we have been given.  When you get up tomorrow, choose to be happy and have a wonderful day!

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The countdown to Christmas…..

Cmas mouse and candy caneChristmas is almost here.  Are you ready? Are the decorations all in place? Are the presents all bought and under the tree? Are the guest preparations all done?

We can get so busy at Christmas that we forget to take time and think about what this season really means.  There is nothing wrong with decorating, buying gifts and enjoying ourselves but Christmas is not just about decorating our homes, unwrapping colourful gifts, eating scrumptious meals and having big parties.  Sometimes we get so carried away that we end up stressed out and deep in debt, having spent money on things we don’t really need and often don’t even want.

Instead of rushing around trying to beat the countdown to Christmas, stop and reflect on the reason for the season.  Christmas is about love and sharing, a celebration of Jesus’ birth.  We should be spending our time with families and friends instead of spending our money on expensive gifts and wasting time shopping.   Do yourself a favour this Christmas and invest your time instead of your money.  The payback is so much bigger and more rewarding!

Show more love to your family and friends.

Forgive all the past hurts and mistakes.

Tear down any walls and repair any broken bridges.

End off this year with some wonderful memories that will warm your heart for months to come.  Merry Christmas!

 

 

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What are you depositing in your bank account?

It’s payday for a lot of people and this means a trip to the bank.  Get that cheque cashed and off to spend some money! Of course with direct deposit, telephone and on-line banking, debit and credit cards, many of us never have to step inside a bank.  All of this can be very convenient but it makes it very easy to spend money without giving any thought to making a deposit into a savings account and leaving it there to grow.

If we keep taking money out of the bank and never make any deposits, there will soon be nothing left and we can become bankrupt.  We can start with a large amount that looks really comforting but it won’t last long if money keeps going out and nothing comes in.  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand this concept, yet many people don’t pay any attention to their bank balance until they get into serious financial trouble.

It is the same concept for our personal emotional bank account.  Everyday, we deposit emotions into our emotional bank account and this can either fill us up or empty us.  If we deposit positive, healthy emotions like love, acceptance, appreciation and kindness it makes us feel secure and confident.  When we deposit negative, unhealthy emotions into our bank account, it makes us feel insecure and we have little confidence.

We can have a good day and fill our emotional bank account so full that it overflows on other people and helps fill their emotional bank account.  Then the next day we feel miserable and make a huge withdrawal, putting ourselves below empty again.

It is important that we fill ourselves every day with positive emotions, on purpose.  Life can be difficult but we can still face the day with a positive attitude and not let all the small things get us down.  If we always look for the bad in every situation, we will find it, but we can usually find something good if we look hard enough.

Instead of looking at life with a negative perspective, work hard to develop a positive perspective and make deposits not withdrawals!  Then watch your happiness level grow:)

 

 

Every day we need to keep depositing healthy emotions in our own emotional bank account and also into the emotional bank account of others so we can help each other feel confident and keep our esteem strong.

Have  you made a deposit today?  Was it love?  What about appreciation?  A kind word?  A thoughtful deed?  Keep making those deposits and watch the benefits grow!

 

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Take a trip to the garbage dump

If you have ever been to the garbage dump, you will know that it is a stinky, messy place that isn’t very pleasant.  I’ve had the pleasure (not) of going many times after doing a major cleanup for a client that has been hoarding stuff for years.  It’s definitely not one of my favourite places to visit, but sometimes it is necessary.

So why would I suggest that you take a trip to the garbage dump?  Well you don’t really have to physically go there, just look up some pictures and contemplate what you are looking at.  Really concentrate on the piles of garbage in front of you.  They came from people’s houses.  Many of the things in these piles were once prized possessions or special memories.   They included:

  • Furniture to sit on
  • Knickknacks to look at
  • Toys to play with
  • Tools to work with
  • Clothing to wear
  • Books and magazines to read
  • Appliances, electronics and numerous other things that we just couldn’t do without

We spend a lot of our time building up possessions that someday will end up rotting in the ground.  The sad thing is that many people prize their possessions more than the people around them.  Focusing on accumulating stuff often creates problems in relationships, financial struggles and having future regrets.  The more we have, the more we want and we are never happy.

Think about what is important in your life.  Do you really want to spend your hard-earned money on unimportant stuff that will eventually disappear?  Invest your time in building good relationships and save some money for your future.  If you really need to spend some money, donate to a worthy cause so it will be invested in someone’s future!

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The reason I hate tipping

waitressI’m sure the title of this post will cause some of you to think I am a cheap tightwad.  However, before you pass judgement, please take a few minutes to read my post with an open mind.

Generosity is an admiral quality and I have always considered myself to be a generous person, donating what I can in time and money as much as I can.  However, when it comes to tipping, I don’t feel that we should be compelled to pay an additional 15% for a meal.   Anything extra that we leave on the table should be considered sufficient, whether it is 5, 10 or 15%.

In the past, I’ve had friends who have worked as waiters and waitresses who have told me how difficult their job is and that they rely on their tips just to make a living.   I accept the fact that they work hard, often long hours, helping people who can be demanding or unkind.  However, I have also worked in jobs that were difficult and demanding where I was only making minimum wage, including a cleaning lady, dishwasher, greenhouse worker and retail clerk.

So let’s take a little quiz to help explain why I hate tipping.

  • QUESTION:  What is the minimum hourly wage in Ontario?
    • ANSWER:  $11.00
  • QUESTION:  What is the average hourly wage for a waiter/waitress?
    • ANSWER:  $9
  • QUESTION:  What does a waiter/waitress average in tips per hour?
    • ANSWER:  $5 to $25
  • QUESTION:   Which job gets tips – a waitress, cleaning person, dishwasher, retail clerk, greenhouse worker?
    • ANSWER:   Only the waitress
  • QUESTION:  Which job would be more physically and emotionally demanding – a waiter, cleaning person, retail clerk, greenhouse worker?
    • ANSWER:  It would depend on the situation, however the greenhouse worker is a much more physically demanding position
  • QUESTION:  What qualifications or educational requirements are needed for a waiter/waitress?
    • ANSWER:  No specific requirements.  Experience is preferred.

I agree that most waiters and waitresses work hard but their job is no more physically or emotionally difficult than many other minimum wage jobs.  Even if they aren’t making minimum wage, just one $5 tip per hour will bring them above and often they will average $15-$25 or more per hour which is a decent wage for a position that requires no education or experience.  I’m sorry but I get tired of hearing these complaints from waiters/waitresses:

  • My job is so strenuous. – Can I introduce you to my friend, a single mom, who works all day in the hot sun in a greenhouse, making minimum wage and no tips?
  • The customers are demanding, annoying, unruly.  – Can I introduce you to my friend, a cashier in a retail store, who deals with rude, annoying clients all day, making minimum wage and no tips?
  • I get sweaty and dirty. – Can I introduce you to my friend, a cleaning lady, who scrubs floors and toilets all day because her husband lost his job, making minimum wage and no tips?

In my opinion,  tipping is a money grab.  It just encourages people to expect something whether or not they deserve it and it pressures people to pay so they don’t look bad.  When customers don’t pay out the expected tip, they will likely get a rude unspoken comment or a dirty look.    Tipping is supposed to be a nice way of saying thanks but too many people think they are entitled instead of being thankful.

It would solve a lot of problems if restaurants would just increase their prices slightly and pay their employees minimum wage.  I would rather pay a few dollars more for a meal knowing my server is getting a regular pay cheque and not having to think about how much my tip will be.  Of course that will not likely ever happen, so when I do eat out, I will continue to tip, usually about 10% and I hope that my waiter/waitress appreciates this.

 

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Getting into the debt trap

It is so easy today to get into debt.  Buying on credit, careless spending and improper financial planning can easily cause damage to your finances and throw you into the debt trap.  Once you are caught, it is very hard to get back on track again.

Many people get into debt because they have developed an entitlement mindset.  They believe that they deserve to have everything they want.  It doesn’t really matter if they have enough cash to pay for what they want, they will just put it on credit and pay for it later.   Some people will even ignore the needs of their families and waste money on things they don’t need instead of buying food and paying the bills.

The world tries to trap us with these encouraging statements:  you deserve the best, shop till you drop, just charge it, treat yourself, pay later.  This sounds like a good idea until the credit card statements come and you can’t even pay the minimum amount.

Many of the things we buy are things we don’t even need.  I’ve bought things in the past that I’ve put in a cupboard or drawer and forgotten about.  Then years later when I’m cleaning, I find the item with the price tag still attached and wonder why I even bought it.

Have you ever considered how much money you spend on stuff you don’t really need?  There is a huge difference between needs and wants.  We sometimes confuse these 2 words.  Often we say we need something and believe that it is important when actually it is only something we want and could do without.   I wanted to see how much money I spent on things I don’t really need and this is what I figured out:

  • COFFEE – If you buy 2 coffees a day at $1.60 – in one year you will spend $1168.00.
  • EATING OUT – If you eat out at a restaurant once a week and spend $80.00 – in one year you will spend $4160.
  • TAKE OUT – If you bring home food once a week and spend $40 – in one year you will spend $2080.
  • CLOTHING – If you buy 1 new item of clothing each week and spend $50 – in one year you will spend $2600.
  • GROCERIES – If you buy extra snacks, sweets and treats each week when you buy groceries and spend $40 – in one year you will spend $2080.

These are just a few of the things that I used to buy that I didn’t really need, but I was convinced that they were necessary.  It didn’t seem like much money was being spent, but when I started figuring out the costs for a year, I was amazed.  The total was over $12,000!!!  For items like food and clothing!!  Then you also have to consider the interest being paid on these items.

Digging yourself into debt is not fun and it takes a long time to recover.   Make sure you are spending your money wisely.   Don’t get yourself into a debt trap.

For great financial advice, check out Dave Ramsey, who is a radio host and a trusted voice on money.  He is a best-selling author and his books are awesome.  Check out his website at http://www.daveramsey.com.

 

 

 

 

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Counting down to the new year

fireworksOnly one more day left in 2013.  Are you ready for the New Year to begin?  Have you made any resolutions for 2014?

Almost half of American adults make one or more resolutions every year.  One of the most popular resolutions is to lose weight which is done through healthier eating or exercising.  Another popular resolution is stopping a bad habit such as smoking or drinking.   People also try to save money by budgeting and spending less.

The problem with resolutions is that most people get discouraged and give up by the end of March.  Everyone wants things to happen quickly but it takes time and commitment to stop a bad habit or correct a problem.  We gain weight over a period of months and years and then hope to lose it in a few weeks.  Not feasible.  We develop bad habits that are reinforced over a period of months and years and then hope to correct the problem in a few weeks.  Not possible.  We get ourselves into money problems over a period of months and years and hope to become financially secure in a few weeks.   Not realistic.

If we want to change something in our lives, we have to be patient and work hard every day at making positive changes.  We also have to correct the problem that is causing the problem or any changes will only be temporary.

If you are trying to lose weight, ask yourself why.  Is it because of low esteem?  Are you really overweight or are you judging yourself through the eyes of the world?  Maybe weight isn’t the problem and what you need is to build your esteem so you can feel good about who you are and accept your flaws and imperfections.

If you are trying to stop a habit, ask yourself what caused the habit.  Are you depressed, trying to run away from something, trying to mask a painful situation?  Breaking habits is almost impossible to do by yourself.  You need support from others.  Join a group of people who are struggling with the same issue or a faith-based study group so you can deal with the underlying issue.

If you are trying to save money, what is the reason.  If you aren’t in financial distress and just trying to save for a home, car or other investment, then that’s a great idea.  But if you are trying to save because you have maxed out all your credit cards, used up any savings and are getting deeply into debt, then you need to ask yourself what got you into this situation.  Do you have an out-of-control spending problem?  Do you have a family member who is running you into debt? If you have more bills at the end of the month than you have money, you seriously need to contact a financial planner or credit counsellor so you can figure out how to deal with the issue.  Counselling can also help when there is an addiction to spending.

There are many different resolutions that we can make but there is no point making any if we aren’t going to keep them.  Instead of making a resolution, make yourself a promise.  Promises are harder to break than resolutions, especially if you write them down and keep track of them on a daily basis.

Get yourself a journal, day book or calendar and write down your promise or promises every day for one month, then cross it off each day as you keep your promise.  Research shows it takes about 21-30 consecutive days to create a new habit, so this will get you started.  If you are trying to break a bad habit, it will take a lot longer so keep going month by month until you feel like you have your promise under control.

This won’t be easy, but if you really want to do something, set your mind to it, and NEVER give up, you CAN DO IT!    Believe and have faith!

 

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How did you celebrate Christmas?

Girl Decorating Christmas TreeChristmas is over and its time to slow down and relax.  All the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season should be behind us.  We work ourselves into a frenzy trying to buy presents, make meals and entertain guests.   Weeks of stress and pressure are funnelled into a couple of days and then what happens?   Often we feel let down and empty.  Why?  Because we are not celebrating Christmas the way it was meant to be.

If we don’t have the Christmas spirit in our hearts all year long, we can’t really appreciate what the season means.  Christmas is supposed to be a time of peace and joy when Christians everywhere celebrate the birth of Jesus.  We shouldn’t rush around like crazy spending money and wasting time on things that won’t last.  We should be spending time with our families and friends, sharing our love and creating great memories that will last.

How did you celebrate Christmas?

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