Choose Happy

Here's to living your Best Day Ever. Every day.

Choose Happy

Here's to living your Best Day Ever. Every day.

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Shop For Daily Inspiration

Why wait to start the new year? Winter solstice is the perfect time to reflect and renew

Winter solstice marks the longest night of the year, and for centuries it’s been celebrated for marking the sun’s gradual return to the winter skies. This year, in the northern hemisphere, winter solstice falls on Dec. 21. As the days begin to get longer, bringing the promise of the renewal of spring, the solstice is the perfect time to get a jump start on planting seeds for the year ahead. Traditionally, winter is a time to hibernate, to get cozy in our homes. You can also view it as a time to get cozy with yourself. Think of it as a time for introspection after a busy year. Granted, some of us are in the midst of holiday craziness, but the solstice reminds us to slow down and observe the stillness and beauty of the season. As you take in that stillness, it's a perfect time to reflect on the past year and start planning for the new one. This doesn’t have to be a hard-core planning session, but rather a time to set the stage for your plans in the year ahead. If you are ready for some solstice reflection, try this method: Light a candleThe solstice is the longest night of the year, and lighting a candle not only helps light the night but also welcomes in possibilities for the new year. Get cozyFind a quiet, comfy spot to sit, and maybe pour yourself a cup of tea. Make this an occasion to honor yourself with some down time. Grab a journalWe are so often wired to our devices that we forget how lovely it can be to connect with our thoughts via pen and paper. (Get a Best Day Ever notebook here.) Writing by hand allows you to slow down, sit with your thoughts and maybe even get a touch creative. Break out the colorful gel pens! Now that you’re set, spend a few minutes on these 3 Rs: Reflect, Re-establish and Re-Invigorate. Reflect on the past year’s successes as well as those things that didn’t hit the mark. What did you learn from those misses? How can you release the hard feelings you may have had about “messing up,” etc., and come away with a lesson to make next year better? Next, re-establish goals you are still working toward or need to adjust. This is a great time for course-correction and using the lessons from the past year’s missteps. Finally, reinvigorate your outlook by setting new goals or outlining the next steps toward meeting your current ones. Don’t forget to use SMART goals.  Ancient traditions around the world saw magic in the transition from dark to light. Use your own magic to banish the dark days of the past year and light the way for a brilliant New Year. Photo by Paolo Nicolello on Unsplash

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Why wait to start the new year? Winter solstice is the perfect time to reflect and renew

Winter solstice marks the longest night of the year, and for centuries it’s been celebrated for m...

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When motivation fizzles, do these 3 things

Excitement and motivation are never in short supply when setting out to accomplish a major goal. You’re jazzed and ready to go. Eventually, though, excitement and motivation start to fizzle. Even if you really want to turn your hobby into a full-time job, your efforts start to stall out. Here’s the truth of the matter, so succinctly put by psychologist and author Mihaly Csikszentmihaly: “Happiness takes a committed effort to be manifested.” Yes, this is going to take some effort – it’s not all rainbows and unicorns. But you can get there. If this sounds like you, you’re definitely not alone. It’s human nature to get stuck once in a while. Read on to identify what could be holding you back and get a few pointers on how to get back on track. Take time to re-evaluate & refocusLet’s take a step back and look at what may have caused your enthusiasm to wane. It could be: Lack of knowledge Lack of accountability Lack of perspective Once you’ve identified your sticking point, you can take steps to refocus your efforts and move forward with confidence. Here are three fixes for these common problems. 1. Fill the knowledge gap. If it’s knowledge you’re lacking, it may be as easy as taking a class to get gain that piece of know-how you’re missing. Often times, the knowledge you seek may be easily accessible via a class at your local community college. You may also be able to hire someone to help you fill in the gaps. It doesn’t have to be a long-term commitment, even a session or two could provide the practical instruction you need to accomplish that next step. 2. Make accountability a thing. If you’re lacking in accountability, join a group that will keep you on track. It may be an online group of entrepreneurs or an in-person networking group. The idea is to have a regular group to check in with on your progress and to ask questions of when you get stuck. Just like having an appointment with a personal trainer helps keep you exercising and eating right, having an appointment with an accountability group will keep your goals moving forward. One study found that having an “accountability appointment” with someone – meeting on a regular basis to report your progress – can increase the likelihood of achieving that goal by 95%!  When you are ready to “level up” your goals and accountability, a mastermind group may be just the ticket. The idea is to create a group of committed individuals who will meet month in and month out to hold each other accountable for the goals they’ve set for themselves. A mastermind group can be a driving force in realizing your dreams. 3. Pat yourself on the back – then rally your team. Finally, you may need to step back and simply get some perspective on your journey. Look at how far you’ve come and congratulate yourself! If you’re still feeling stuck, it may be that you just need to call in your team of experts to get help. Your team may include an accountant or attorney (and if you’re starting a business, it’s vital to have both). You may also consider a business coach or life coach to help provide the structure and perspective you need to jumpstart your motivation. Once you’ve identified where it is you need a boost, make it a point to find that person or group who can serve as your “booster ” – and keeping moving forward! Photo by Fab Lentz on Unsplash

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When motivation fizzles, do these 3 things

Excitement and motivation are never in short supply when setting out to accomplish a major goal. ...

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You do have the time

Making time for your passion project In my last post I posed the question – “Can you take your passion and turn it into profit maker?” I think it is possible, especially if you know how to get over a few hurdles that most entrepreneurs face in one way or another. The first is making the time to do the thing you love. As we get older, our responsibilities tend to increase – a job, a mortgage, kids, a dog. The more responsibilities you have the harder it may be to set aside the time to convert our hobby into something more. Don’t lose heart! It can be done! For starters, it’s helpful to take a good hard look at how you are actually spending your time. No time to even do your laundry, you say? What if you limited – or quit – your social media habit? What if you politely told your chatty friend at daycare drop-off or yoga class that you have something important to do? What if you got up just one half-hour earlier? Or quit watching television? (The average American watches over 5 hours of TV a day!) Try keeping track of how you spend your time for one week and then see where you can improve. I did it for an entire year and found it hugely helpful. Once you figure out what you’re spending time on versus what you actually want to spend your time on, you might want to try one of our Best Day Ever schedulers to make it even easier to track your time fully to make sure your goals are aligned with your daily actions. Ad agencies have a concept called billable time. That’s the actual productive time you are working on a specific project. Evaluate your “billable” time – time working at your 9-to-5 or actively involved in parenting or housekeeping. (Remember, you could be paying someone to keep track of your toddler and scrub your bathroom.) With this assessment of your time in mind, how could you shift or increase your billable hours to include your passion project? Tackle your project 3x3Once you’ve cleared time in your schedule, one fantastic method to take a bite-sized chunk out of your to-do list is called the 3x3 Project. Developed by professional intuitive counselor, author and podcaster Slade Roberson, his recipe is simple:  • Perform 3 actions each week that move you closer to your goal. • Do it for 3 months. • Set down the framework for each month and then focus on the weekly actions. Think big but act small. Life coach Diana Frajman tried the 3x3 Project for herself with the hopes of increasing readership on her blog, www.croneconfidence.com, and the results went far beyond what she expected: “The idea of doing three things every week for three months puts a focus on the goal. Even seemingly random activities compound towards the greater goal. It’s in the act of doing something that creates forward momentum,” Diana says. “There were several pleasant side effects created from this project. My readership continues to grow like a ripple on the water with little extra effort. My confidence got a big boost because I proved to myself that with a little focus and effort wonderful things can happen, which also lessened my fear of failure – something that a lot of folks who want to take a hobby and make it legit suffer from. “But most of all, I learned that if you just focus your efforts on a goal and make regular, consistent action towards it, synchronistic events appear out of thin air to guide even quicker to your destination. So a good rule here is to plan but also be willing to go with the flow should an opportunity present itself.” So grab your day planner or your favorite scheduling app and block out time three days a week for the next three months to see just how much you can accomplish! Even devoting 3 half-hour chunks of time – if that’s all you feel you can spare – will give you the time and space to start focusing on your dream. Next week, we’ll look at some other common blocks to accomplishing your dream, and some simple solutions to bust the blocks.   Photo by Icons8 team on Unsplash

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You do have the time

Making time for your passion project In my last post I posed the question – “Can you take your pa...

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Passion Project: Do what you love, feel great and maybe even get paid

Do you have a passion? Or even just a hardcore hobby? Maybe you’re just really good at one very practical thing that others want to learn. You may be an expert woodworker (who knew?) Or a star seamstress. Or maybe it's connecting with kids and teaching them art. If the time flies when you’re doing that one activity, there's a good chance that’s the thing you could do to harness your enthusiasm and skill. And science shows us that being happier equates into being healthier. Why having a hobby makes you healthy Not only is doing something you enjoy, well, enjoyable, it’s also good for you. As noted in a 2015 paper published in the Annals of Behavioral Health, boredom can equate to bad habits – including overeating, smoking and even drug use. But people who engage in positive leisure-time activities were found to have lower stress in the moment as well as exhibiting signs that the benefits carried on for the next hour. Participants in the study maintained a lower heart rate associated with the relaxed state they entered when doing their hobby. Another study, in the Journal of Positive Psychology, found that people who participated in a creative endeavor continued to feel better the following day. And hobbies related to crafting and art have been shown to reduce the risk of dementia, according to a study by the Mayo Clinic. Finding your passion project So what if you could extend those feel-good vibes and health benefits into more parts of your life? Some people have done just that, turning their passion into a profession or a lucrative side gig. I am lucky that I found my passion and hobby and career calling at a young age when I started making soap for a creative outlet. It quickly turned into a business when I was able to marry my passions to an idea for a scaleable business. That business has grown into www.brambleberry.com where I teach people to make soap and sell them the supplies to do it (interested in learning to make soap – lots of tutorials at www.soapqueen.com and www.soapqueen.tv). I like to think of myself as an example of where creativity and entrepreneurship meet. “But what if I don’t have a passion for something?” you might be asking. Well, do you have something you’re pretty good at that not everybody else knows how to do? Developing a skill that you have a knack for can lead to the same results. Most people have some degree of proficiency or knowledge in a topic that the rest of us don't. And if that knowledge and proficiency is something that you really “geek out” on, why not take it to the next level? So, yes, you can do this. But how can you take a passion and turn it into a profit maker? In the next post, we will help you get started toward taking your passion to the next level by looking at making time to do your thing.

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Passion Project: Do what you love, feel great and maybe even get paid

Do you have a passion? Or even just a hardcore hobby? Maybe you’re just really good at one very p...

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Nothing fishy here – eating fish is good for you

Eating fish factors into a healthy lifestyle. More importantly, it’s about eating the right kind of fish. Cold-water, fatty fish are especially beneficial to our health. The omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA within fish are associated with many benefits, such as a healthy heart, skin and eyes. Here’s just a few of the health benefits linked to consuming fatty fish: Heart health – Fish oil has been shown to raise “good” cholesterol, lower triglycerides and reduce blood pressure. Vision – Studies have linked fish oil consumption to prevention of age-related macular degeneration. Skin – Fish oil has been shown to help psoriasis and dermatitis. Inflammation fighter – Chronic inflammation associated with conditions from diabetes to depression to rheumatoid arthritis is reduced with fish oil supplementation. Healthy baby – Omega-3s are important to early growth and development, and therefore an important part of mom’s diet while she is pregnant and breastfeeding. Choose whole fish over supplementsWhy cold-water fish? Their environment encourages production of omega-3s. Fatty cold-water fish include salmon, trout, sardines, anchovies and cod, among others. Eating fish in its whole form, as opposed to taking a supplement, delivers all of the benefits of the fish as nature intended. Some people do turn to fish oil supplements in capsule or liquid form to get their dose of healthy fatty acids. But recent scientific studies have shown fish oil supplements’ effects to be a mixed bag. One study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that omega-3 supplements didn’t help reduce the risk of heart attacks or death from heart disease in people who already had risk factors associated with heart disease. And some studies have shown fish to be beneficial in the fight against certain kinds of cancer, while others have shown there can be too much of a good thing – taking too much actually be harmful. Long-term fish oil consumption has also been tagged in cases of fatty liver disease, which can lead to liver cancer. The takeaway here is that taking stand-alone supplements may not give us the same health benefits as eating the fish itself. This is likely because of all the other nutrients that come along with consuming whole food instead of a supplement. Watch the sourcePolluted habitat has resulted in high levels of mercury and other toxins in some of the fish we eat. Smaller fish, such as sardines, are lower on the food chain and are less likely to contain dangerous levels of toxins. (If you do choose to take supplements, this goes for the fish harvested for the supplements as well.) You don’t have to be Jacques Cousteau to know which fish are safe to eat thanks to the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch, which provides a list of the safest – and most sustainable – varieties of fish to eat. You’re likely to come across a few you’ve never heard of. Give them a try! Along with eating something good for you, you’ll be eating something that doesn’t harm fragile fisheries. How much fish should you eat? Experts suggest just one or two servings per week will provide benefits. For those of you who just can’t stomach the thought of fish, omega-3s are found in plant-based sources as well, such as flaxseed, chia seeds and walnuts. These foods, however, primarily contain another fatty acid – ALA. Each fatty acid has its own benefits in the body, so isn’t a one-to-one swap trading flaxseed for fatty fish. If you haven’t been a fish eater all your life, you may be surprised how really delicious it can be. I know I was! Read more about eating and cooking fish here. Sources:https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/13-benefits-of-fish-oil#sectionhttps://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/fish-oil-friend-or-foe-201307126467https://www.seafoodwatch.org/seafood-recommendationshttps://www.livestrong.com/article/411442-what-kind-of-cold-water-fish-are-healthy-to-eat/https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320795.php Photo by Jeremy Stewart on Unsplash

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Nothing fishy here – eating fish is good for you

Eating fish factors into a healthy lifestyle. More importantly, it’s about eating the right kind ...

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