Throwing in the Towel

Throwing in the Towel

While on this journey of mine to live a better and smarter life–I have found myself thinking and re-thinking some of my proclivities.

One of my things is towels. I know, I know, sounds absolutely kinky.  If not kinky, at least kooky.

I don’t know when it started, and while not a secret–when I started thinking about it there are very few people–who know of this weird obsessive compulsive little habit of mine.

My mother of course knows–she knows everything!  (I don’t know how she does that by the way–as a mother myself, I am still trying to acquire all her mother super powers!)

My daughters know…because well–while they are on their own now–they did live with me for a long, long time.

And of course, my husband knows–he thinks I’m crazy about my towel thing–but he has been very accepting of my need for clean towels.

You see–I use clean towels everytime I take a shower. And everytime I wash my face and hands. So the towels get used, once, and they go in the hamper.  Now if for some reason I have to use a towel twice, I don’t freak out or break out in a sweat–I just use them the 2nd time and then it goes in the hamper.

Needless to say I have two linen closets in the house and they are full of towels–I stopped counting them when I got to 50. There are plenty more…

(I was beginning to think that maybe I should stop using so many towels.)

Now, you must understand, I do a lot of thinking while I am cooking–so I was thinking about all this–in the kitchen, cooking, kitchen towel on my shoulder, one by the sink, another by the cutting board.

Usually I cook and wash and dry my hands and cook and wash and dry my hands in a little ritual…when I clean up the kitchen at the end of this little dance the kitchen towels go into the laundry room.

I couldn’t believe it when I realized that I have a kitchen towel addiction too!

So I resolved to really reevaluate this obsession…and then…out of nowhere, I started laughing out loud–in the kitchen, practically hysterically.  (My husband on the couch watching TV just ignored me–he is a prince about my obsessions!)

And I made my decision–I am throwing in the towel on throwing in the towels. Why should I stop my little crazy habit of clean towels?  I am not hurting anyone and no one (who’s in the know) cares if I do 2 loads of towels in the laundry each week…so why not?

Here is my point–you knew one was coming–everyone has a thing–harmless, no one really cares about your thing things. Why should we deny ourselves our little joys. Isn’t that what life is about anyway?

Enjoy your weekend–and clean towels!  Drop a comment below or send me an email if you’d like at emptynestsavvy@gmail.com

A Bucket List in 5 Steps

A Bucket List in 5 Steps

Writing a bucket list gives a sense of reality to the long term goals we have for ourselves. A bucket list is, thought, much larger than just a list of goals to reach. A bucket list should include not just goals you want to achieve, but dreams that you want to see become reality and experiences you would like to have before you can’t have them anymore.

A bucket list can help you gain focus on those things that are really important to you–outside of our day to day run around tasks.  We cannot get away from our daily responsibilities but we can certainly measure whether our daily activities are leading us to reach our ultimate desires.

I thought of this as I started contemplating what I would put on my bucket list.  As I have mentioned before I am not a very adventurous person so on my list I would not put such experiences that include extreme sports.  For me–my most prized desires–include time and space.

And as I was thinking of the items to put on my list, I was thinking about how to decide on which things to include and these are the steps that I took to help me make those choices.

  1. Think about things, experiences and dreams that you have had since childhood.  It is in childhood that our true dreams and desires begin, before the responsibilities of adulthood take precedence in our lives.
  2. Follow your heart when it comes to things you truly want for you, not for what others expect of you, or would want for you. What matters is what you want.
  3. List things that are within your grasp as well as loftier goals that may be seemingly harder to achieve.  Do not underestimate how many things you can actually achieve if you put your mind to it.
  4. Include everything that would make you happy regardless of how much money it may cost, time it may take to achieve, or resources you may need to acquire to reach them.
  5. Write these objective, dreams and experiences down on paper. Keep a copy of it where you can review it often.  Add to it if you like!  But keep your dreams and goals foremost on your mind to help you achieve them.

Once you make your bucket list–then the fun begins! Choose one of the goals on the list and start the plan on how you will reach that goal.  Make plans, find a way and seek out the goal.

One of the fun things of having a bucket list is crossing them off as you accomplish them.  And the joy you will receive from reaching them!

What kinds of things would you include on your bucket list?  Drop a comment below…and let me know!

Happy Monday!  Have fun!

Moving Forward

Moving Forward

I am guilty of over-planning.  I over plan almost everything…from projects I am working on to our weekly meals. Some may think it is because I like to have the control–but in reality it is because I like to figure out the puzzle of unexpected events or situations arising.

And as I like to be prepared for the unexpected I make tons of lists. Lists of books I’ve read, book to read, grocery lists, meal plans, budgets, instructions for projects and lists and lists of ideas.  I like to plan ahead and to be ready for the what ifs.

Some of my friends who know of my list making think I am amazing (I tend to agree with that)…but there are a few who think I am too organized and doubt that I can accomplish as much as I do.

I think it may be their envy speaking or their wish to be more organized themselves or to simply have a desire to want to accomplish more in their own lives.

I have to say that I do get a great deal of things done in my home, at work, and in my hobbies because I am organized and do make lists to keep on top of things.  After all these years I think my success in this is because I can work on different things each day and move my goals forward–whatever they may be.

This is how I do it:  I break my projects into small workable tasks and I keep moving through the tasks day after day–time permitting–until they are finished.  As other tasks come up I can weave them into my days without disrupting my responsibilities or my objectives.

I’ve been doing this for a very long time–I hate to think how long, as I remember being this way in high school and college–with my school tasks. (And that was well over 30 years ago!)

When I look back over this time, I am grateful and proud of all I have accomplished so far and am very excited of all the years ahead of me to plan, and to create, and to accomplish so much more.

So many people give up so early in life and stop trying to accomplish–whatever it is they dream of accomplishing. They live their lives going through the motions and staying in the same place–never advancing or learning or wanting to change and advance.

But for us over planners–we sometime do try to do too much each day–the long lists in my planner are certainly proof of that. And if we don’t check off all our “to-dos” we feel we are not enough.   I am here to tell you that we are enough. Sometimes tasks, however small, can lead you to something bigger.

People often over estimate what can be completed or accomplished in a small amount of time and under estimate what can be accomplished over the long term.

Keep moving forward.  You are enough!

To Diet or Not to Diet

To Diet or Not to Diet

As I have been studying and learning and experimenting with different “diet” options–I have come to a profound conclusion:  Diets don’t work.

I know, most of you knew this already.  That is not to say that all the diet books and experts and suggestions are wrong. Diets don’t work because people that try them–me–do not take our lifestyles into account.

Diets are part of our lifestyles–and our cultures.  As Americans we embrace food like–well hot dogs and apple pie! We celebrate the diverse cultures in this nation by going to Chinese on Tuesdays and Mexican on Thursdays.

In between we eat all the “stuff” we buy at the grocery store that is so convenient and instant and tastes so good because it is processed and full of chemicals that mimic salty, sugary, soft, crunchy, flavorful yummy stuff.

Never mind that most is artificial and full of preservatives so they can sit in the warehouse, then the store, then our pantries–until we are ready to eat them.

And yet, we want  to be healthy and fit. So we go on a diet, we join the gym and we rock it! We lose 10, 15, sometimes 20 pounds–look great–feel great, and then stop. We go back to eating all the things we “gave up” during the diet, we stop going to the gym.

Slowly but surely the pounds come back and sometime they bring additional friends–making us heavier and in worse shape than before.

What we forgot was our lifestyle–not the foods. Our diets are not something we can do for a while and then we can stop when we reach a specific goal. Diets were never meant to be “a temporary eating phenomenon”.

A diet, by definition, is the sum of the food consumed by an organism or group. A noun.  Dieting–the verb–is the deliberate selection of food to control body weight or nutrient intake. So we verb the heck out of ourselves!

The question becomes are we happy living like this? In a constant argument with ourselves about our food choices. Feeling bloated and swollen and uncomfortable in our own skin.

I was not. So I have been experimenting with all kinds of diets to see which one “fit”. Of course, they didn’t “fit”–not for long anyway.

If you are in your 40s or 50s, like me, or beyond you know this will not work–because we have been experimenting like this most of our lives.

What I failed to admit to myself (because I am pretty sure I have known this all along) is that is not the food–it’s the lifestyle. The lifestyle brings with it the food.

As part of the master plan I have been working on is a major change in lifestyle. I have decided that I will eat a scientifically researched and proven healthy diet of what my body needs to function and thrive, in the amounts that it needs and nothing more. The optimal word is NEEDS.

Some, I know, are with me on this journey–they have already accepted and embraced–what I am coming to know as truth. Others know this to be true–but are just not ready yet. Its ok…

Having this lifestyle means that I am going to respect my meal times, the portion sizes of my meals and the foods I will include in meals. And everything else is unnecessary.

My lifestyle has to change, so my foods will change, so I can live the healthy and fit life I want to live.

In the next few posts, I will take you through part of my journey and why this lifestyle sounds better and feels better each day!

Don’t forget to love yourself today! And have fun!

Getting Re-Organized

Getting Re-Organized

Developing the life we want is HARD work!  The first 3 months of the year have passed so quickly!  And I thought I would have my whole life planned out by now!

Of course my illusions of grandeur have gotten the best of me yet again.  Thank goodness life is a long one!

I can say that the first three months of the year has been a productive one.  I am still on track with my New Year’s Resolutions and this is a good time to take stock and evaluate what is working and what is not working.

I am happy to say that a lot is working–in order to be better, though, we have to be honest about what is not working.  What is not working is I am trying to accomplish everything at once. And while I am not failing–in order to keep up the pace now is when I have to really get re-organized!

I am going to have to truly map out “The Plan”–as I’ve dubbed the rest of our lives…

I thought I was being easy on myself when I only gave myself two New Year’s Resolutions:

  1. Be the healthiest ME I can be
  2. Organize my life so I have more: space, time, money and happiness

These resolutions–have translated into some specific goals–that are going to take longer than I expected.  It is going to be a long road but I am looking forward to every step!

  1. Being the healthiest Me I can be has led me to:

Researching healthy lifestyles, fitness and lifestyle diseases and longevity studies.  That’s a lot of fancy words just to say that I joined the gym, am looking to learn to cook healthier meals, make sure I get enough sleep, lose weight and get strong.

In doing those things, I stumbled upon Health Coaching School of which I am enthusiastically a student and am not just improving my knowledge and health but helping those close to me as well.

2. Organizing my life so I have more: space, time, money and happiness has led me to:

Decluttering my house, my life, my schedule, my social media, my shopping habits…etc. It has led me down the road to making the right choices for me and my family regardless of what others may think and surprisingly–that has made me feel lighter and free-er and yes, dare I say very happy!

In my New Year’s post one of my pieces of advice was that no matter what your goals or resolution is the most important part of succeeding is to begin. Put one step in front of the other and keep moving forward.

In order to do all the things I want to do and keep up this happy momentum, I need to get re-organized to keep it going.

So here is my plan–maybe you can use these ideas to help you reach your goals also:

  1. Keep the big picture front and center.  
  2. Make daily, small, reachable goals.
  3. Accept setbacks.
  4. Look for other options when there are setbacks.
  5. And then take the next step.  

This is an exciting time being in the Empty Nest–our kids are expanding their world and we are expanding ours–we are enjoying the ride and moving forward!

How are your goals and resolutions coming along? Is it time to start over and get organized toward your big picture? Let me know what things have slowed you down or stopped your progress on something you really want to achieve.

No matter where you are in your goals–remember each day brings new opportunities–and have fun!

Priorities, Priorities, Priorities

Priorities, Priorities, Priorities

In my last post, I shared with you how much I am enjoying using my calendar to schedule the events and tasks that are important to my life, my goals and my priorities.

I’ve received a few questions since then about how to set your priorities and how I know if they are the right ones!  Wow! Huge questions and tough ones, but I decided to tackle them.

Setting priorities can be a very difficult task–depending on what your priorities are and if they match your values and your goals.

So first you really need to decide what you really want in your life.  Do you want a job, career or calling that you are excited to get up for each morning? Or just a means to make some money to obtain the OTHER things you really want in your life?

Do you want the romantic relationship of your dreams? Do you want to travel more or have more interesting experiences? Or do you want just more TIME to do all of these things?

You see, as we get older–the things we want change and that will change our goals and the methods we use to reach them.  This happens–not because we are getting older–but because we continue to grow as long as we are still breathing!

As we grow, we have to keep examining what it is we want so we can shift–you got it–our PRIORITIES!

How do you set your priorities? The right priorities for each person will be different depending on what they value.  

If you value family, like I do, then your tasks and the events you choose to attend will revolve around family–because that is what makes you happy and so you have internalized this as a priority for you.

How do you know if your priorities are the right ones? Well…this is easier to answer and harder to answer.

I am not going to say: “if it feels good make this a priority in your life”  because sometimes we pursue or do things that feel good in the moment–but that are really bad for us.

What I will say is if something is important to you, like traveling and seeing new places, and you have to work all year to save and earn your two weeks off in order to be able to enjoy it–but you do it because you really get joy from the traveling then this is a priority for you!

So the right priorities are the ones that feel right to you and that match up with the things you values.

As I continue growing and enjoying this journey, I have done a lot of self inspection.  I have found that my life’s passions include my personal growth, my family, traveling and writing or being creative in some form of expression. I also realized that I am a fixer–or as I prefer to think of it–a helper.

I was happy to realize that most of my life I have been reaching and obtaining these experiences, even through the years that had brought hardship, confusion and disasters into my life.

Getting older and continuing to grow just means for me that I will be putting more focus on my passions–my priorities–because it is what makes me happy and what is leading me to my purpose.

So knowing your priorities is very important! Examining what your heart is telling you makes you happy is very important! And then prioritizing your life so that you are going towards those goals is what makes this life so worth living!

Never stop growing! And do not be afraid to treat yourself well by honoring the things that are important to you!  We only live one life, folks, have fun!

Comment below and share some of the things that you have made priorities in your life!

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The Joy of Living by My Calendar

The Joy of Living by My Calendar

One thing I have implemented for myself this year that has helped me grow–is my calendar.

 

I’ve gotten a new calendar every year and usually by February I have stopped putting “important” dates and “to dos by” dates on it.  But this year, I’ve taken a new approach and it has been working extremely well.

As I have been making plans for building the life I really want I realized that I cannot live the life I would like to live if I do not honor my time.

Time after all is that one commodity that no one seems to have enough of yet some people seem to get a great deal of important things done and these are things they truly love to do. And we have to realize that all of us have the same 24 hours each day.

Please understand that I am not suggesting that you fill your calendar with more events and tasks so that you are busy all the time. What I am suggesting is that you only put things in your calendar that have true meaning to you.

What distinguishes the importance of our time is defining what those things are that are important to you. Those are the things that go in your calendar.

One of my favorite quotes by Franklin Covey is:

“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”

What are your priorities?  This can be a very difficult question to answer. Depending on where you are in your life, your priorities may be very different.  There really is no right or wrong answer for this.

Priorities, also, are hard to define because we feel “selfish” when expressing what we really want for ourselves–often it is not what other people want for us.  If we only do things that is expected of us by others it will not necessarily make us happy or move us closer to our own goals.

Making the other people in our lives happy is important–especially if it brings you joy. But your calendar should not be filled with tasks and events of or for other people.

So, I sat down and made a list of my priorities.  This was not an easy task. But I was able to narrow it down to 6 things. Then I noted them on the first page of my calendar.  It serves as a reminder of what I want more of in my life.

And since then, before I add things to my calendar–I think about whether the task, event, invitation or effort is going to serve me and my priorities, my goals, and my happiness.

I know–it sounds totally selfish! But guess what?  I have not attended events I did not want to attend, I have not spent time with people I did not want to spend time with and I did not waste time completing tasks that have no real importance in my life.

The results is that I have had more time to spend with the people I really want to be with and I have been more relaxed and happy when with them. (I think they are enjoying the happier me! Or they might think I’m on medication!) I have not had to pretend to enjoy being somewhere I did not want to be and those useless tasks did not have to get done anyway!

Another plus is that I am learning to say no. No to things that waste time, no to experiences I do not want to have and no to people that are not part of my priorities.

Now when I look at my calendar–which I do each morning–I find the things that I really enjoy staring back at me. It helps me clearly plan what is needed to complete necessary tasks and it allows me to look forward to the events coming up because I am so excited about them.

And although it is only February, I have already planned many things well into the summer. Things that match my priorities and that bring me joy. Things I am looking forward to.

What kind of tasks or events that align with your priorities are you most excited about? Do you take the time to schedule these things in your calendar for yourself?  Comment below! And as always have fun!