Simple ways to make Valentine’s Day special

heart-762564_960_7201Would you like your sweetest Valentine’s Day ever? 

Here are 14 loved-based Wishful Thinking Works tips to make this year’s Valentine’s Day your best yet. 

Mix and match them to your heart’s desire. 

 Using even one tip can up your happiness or that of someone special to you.

  1. Plan ahead – having something to look forward will raise your spirits. If you do not want to be alone, reach out and plan something fun for friends or family. If you are looking forward to a quiet night by yourself, go for it – in style – by treating yourself to foods and activities you love. Add, candles and fancy dishes, and voilà, c’est magnifique!
  2. Broaden your scope – you can celebrate being in love with anyone on Valentine’s Day. Friends, family, your kids, your life, your job – whatever makes you smile is worth celebrating!
  3. Expand your options  – restaurants can be overbooked and way too busy on the 14th, why not go out earlier in the month, and exchange cards or gifts on Valentine’s? (We have already booked dinner at a new beachside restaurant for the 8th. The anticipation is just as fun, the sunset view will be as stunning and the food may even be better since the restaurant will not be overflowing.)
  4. Be creative – good times don’t require big budgets – think indoor picnic or cheese and crackers with wine before dinner at home to make it special.  If you can get outdoors – plan a picnic, a late night walk or a weekend hike.  Anything that moves you out of your comfort zone will be memorable.
  5. Relax – even the most romantic evening can be ruined by letting your expectations outweigh the circumstances. Breathe!
  6. Put the focus on others – this is a great time of year for Gratitude Letters, cards or notes to special aunts and uncles, neighbors, or co-workers – anyone who has done something caring and kind for you – ever! Buy a heart shape cookie and drop it by the neighbors or leave it on the desk of a co-worker.
  7. Memories make great gifts – find ways to bring great moments alive again through Facebook posts, photos, calls or visits. Remind loved ones of memories you share.
  8. Volunteerstudies show this can brighten everyone’s day, and may even lengthen your life. Make plans now to spend time helping others.
  9. Babysit – If you don’t have big plans – help make someone else’s night great!
  10. Pay-it-forward – Buy coffee for the person behind you in line. Let folks go ahead of you at the grocery store. Hold the door, give-up the parking space. (Remember, to keep it pure and simple no fair waiting or expecting a thank you!)
  11. Give an unexpected hug – it is good for everyone’s health! Hold it for 20 seconds to feel all of the warmth and richness.
  12. Ask for a do-over or apologize – now is the perfect time to undo something you said or did that you wish you hadn’t. Here’s how!
  13. Forgiveyourself or someone else! Take time to rethink and reframe a situation and then gently let it go.
  14. Give instead of receiving – donate to your favorite charity. One of the best Valentine’s gifts I ever received was a donation made in my name to fund a young girl’s school for a year – the cost was only $58, the memory and the feeling are priceless!

Making the simple, special this Valentine’s Day will make you and others happier!  

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5-minute mood enhancer

cold-1284028__340I know it is cold. In some places polar cold. But a new study recently published in the Journal of Positive Psychology studies show just 5 minutes in nature will elevate your mood.  Yup, simply being outside, breathing fresh air, looking around and noticing nature will elevate your mood.

5 minutes

You don’t even have to move around, you can simply sit in nature and feel the effect! (Now I know it is probably way too cold to sit outside where many of you are living, but for those who can – go for it, and the rest of you throw on a jacket or two and step outside your front door.) The key is not to think about it – but to DO IT!

5 minutes

And, I have learned from personal experience that when I am feeling down or I am ruminating about real or perceived problems, and I drastically switch gears for 4-5 minutes, I always feel better. It works every time!

4-5 minutes can make all the difference in your day and eventually in your life.

yoga-2683522__340Exercise, dance, hula hoop, stretch, run up and down the stairs, clean a drawer, vacuum, take a shower, or laugh along with comedy on YouTube.

Get up. Move. If you want to check out nature, but it’s too cold, stand inside with the door or window open and feel the rush of the cold air. Even taking the time to look out each window in your home without opening them, will give you a totally new perspective. It’s invigorating.

Getting out of your comfort zone indoors or out can be a wonderfully effective mood enhancer – and it’s free!

Doing something different for 4-5 minutes dramatically increases the likelihood that you will feel energized and ready to take on other changes in your life.

Go for it, I am sure you have 5 minutes to spare.

 

Start now to change your life by Spring!

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Sunday musings

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A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts. . .

As the plant springs from, and could not be without, the seed, so every act of a man springs from the hidden seeds of thought, and could not have appeared without them. This applies equally to those acts called “spontaneous” and “unpremeditated” as to those, which are deliberately executed.

Act is the blossom of thought, and joy and suffering are its fruits; thus does a man garner in the sweet and bitter fruitage of his own husbandry.  As a Man Thinketh, James Allen, Free Library

Give your character and your soul a chance to grow, treat yourself and others kindly in your thoughts.

The key is to become aware of the differences in your body when thinking soul enhancing thoughts vs thoughts that cause you stress or worry.

 

When you can feel the difference in your body, the choice will become easier. The path to character opens up and rewards you with positive responses from the universe.

 When you stray from the path, gently and kindly remind yourself your goal is to build character and to stretch your soul, and ask yourself how your current thoughts are making you feel.  Are your feelings in alignment with your goal?

If your thoughts are causing you strife, breathe deeply and kindly redirect your thoughts, taking a moment to applaud yourself for shifting gears. Peace is character building and joy helps shine a light on the path you want to follow. 

It’s scary, I know. To trust yourselves so deeply that you believe you are the master of your feelings and your path, but the rewards are so great it is a shame to not give it a chance.

 

 

Daydreams & free resources = success in 2019

New Year

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2019! 

Now, let’s fast forward to January 2020!

Picture yourself one year from today, excited and thrilled about what you accomplished in 2019! I realize the year has barely begun, but one of the best ways to move forward is to have a clear picture of yourself feeling satisfied and grateful about what you have accomplished – before it is done!

Picturing the life you want makes it feel real, which releases all sorts of chemicals in your brain that will relax your body and expand your creativity and positivity by creating new neural pathways. It’s science, but feels like magic!

Picture it done!

Create a positive, rewarding outcome for your biggest dreams and then sit back and enjoy a movie-like mental reel highlighting how your personalized success looks and feels. Daydream your way into the vision of yourself you want to see and be.

 

Prime your brain by envisioning yourself celebrating your future success. Perhaps you are telling your friends just how wonderful it feels to be 10 pounds lighter and how you did it; how thrilled you are for sticking to your running schedule and the difference it has made in your life; to be so close to finishing school and planning your graduation; how scared you were to start writing your book, but how good it feels to be in the editing stage; how wonderful it feels to be in your new home for the holidays or how beautiful Paris is in the spring.

Don’t be afraid to visualize your dreams. 

Include as many details as possible to fully experience your personalized magic carpet ride. Daydreams are all about imagination – go for it. (Don’t worry about how your dreams will come true, believing they can is the key.)

Help is just outside your comfort zone, but never outside of your reach.

  1. To reinforce all those rich and wonderful thoughts and feelings, use the Wishful Thinking Works “Ta Da” List 2018 to record all the good things that happened in your life in 2018 – big or small! Writing our successes reminds us good things are possible, reveals patterns about what matters to us, and is another great way to prime your brain for happiness and success in the months ahead. (Did mine and it was great way to relive the highlights of 2018. Made me dig deep and remember worthwhile experiences I might have otherwise passed over. Truly rewarding activity. I plan to keep adding to it over the next few days. Don’t pass up the good feelings in store for you when you fill out your 2018 Wishful Thinking Works “Ta Da” List.) 
  2. Now create your Wishful Thinking Works “Ta Da” List 2019 ! Record all your dreams for the 2019 as if they are already done. (I added prompts for you to get you started!) Add a sentence or two on the back of the sheet or in a journal sharing how good it feels to have brought such happiness into your life. (I just finished mine and it feels fantastic to put my dreams on paper. Freeing and rewarding all at once.)
  3. If you know you want your life to be different in 2019, but don’t have a specific goal or if you don’t know where to start, use Wishful Thinking Works Change Circles to help you define what type of change you want to see this year.
  4. If you are letting your past, worries about the world around you, or the scale of the changes you want, scare you; take a break and use the Wishful Thinking Works Courage Diet to get you back on track.
  5. Then use the Wishful Thinking Works Real Deal Change Wheel to move past and lingering hurdles or stumbling blocks.

There is absolutely no reason to face change alone. I designed all of these free Wishful Thinking Works resources for you. Use them to make your dreams come true in 2019.

Don’t forget to visit and “Follow” Wishful Thinking Works and to “Like ” Wishful Thinking Works on Facebook throughout the amazing year that lies ahead for you.

 

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12 Ways to Survive Holiday Happenings

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The Wishful Thinking Works “12 Ways to Survive Holiday Happenings” can help you avoid prickly moments!

If you are heading to a family gathering this weekend but do not see eye-to-eye with all of your loved ones about touchy topics such as politics, religion, child-rearing, sports, lifestyles, or even the weather or who should bring what – this post is for you.

I am sharing my Wishful Thinking Works version of “The Twelve Days of Christmas,”which I wrote in 2010 after being inspired earlier in the year by author and life coach Marianne Ford. Marianne reminded me that being right isn’t a right and sometimes conversations and life go better when, instead of sharing our wisdom, opinions, advice, or rebuttals – we simply listen and respond with a friendly, “I hear you.” or a non-committal but respectful “Ah- huh,” Wow!” “Okay,” or “Really?”

In other words, when respect is present agreement is not a necessity. We can change our experience and the conversation by using Marianne’s tips to transform debates into discussions and boring exchanges into interesting encounters. 

I can use a bit of help around this time of year, so I wove Marianne’s thoughts and some of my musings into . . .

“Wishful Thinking Works’ “12 Ways to Survive Holiday Happenings”

On the 1st day of Christmas my inner wisdom gave to me patience for the party,

On the 2nd day of Christmas my inner wisdom gave to me 2 sacks of courage.

On the 3rd day of Christmas my inner wisdom gave to me 3 “Ah-huh’s.”

On the 4th day of Christmas my inner wisdom gave to me 4 smiling nods.

On the 5th day of Christmas my inner wisdom gave to me 5 “Oh, that’s great’s!”

On the 6th day of Christmas my inner wisdom gave to me 6 “Tell me more’s.” 

On the 7th day of Christmas my inner wisdom gave to me 7 “That sounds interesting’s.” 

On the 8th day of Christmas my inner wisdom gave to me 8 “I-can-do-this’s!”

On the 9th day of Christmas my inner wisdom gave to me 9 “Okay.” “Wow!” “Really’s?”

On the 10th day of Christmas my inner wisdom gave to me 10 “That sounds so frustrating’s.” 

On the 11th day of Christmas my inner wisdom gave to me 11 “Oh my gosh’s.”

On the 12th day of Christmas my inner wisdom gave to me 12I got through it! I am so happy!”

Feel free to share my new holiday classic with your friends and family. It may help everyone’s holiday shine a bit brighter and feel a tad merrier.

(In case it comes up at a holiday gathering, the twelve days of Christmas are the evening of December 24/January 6 or December 25/January 7 – depending on the calendar, Julian/Gregorian, you are following.)

And, if you are now trying to remember the original lyrics to “The Twelve Days of Christmas,”  here they are . . . 

Twelve drummers drumming,

Eleven pipers piping,

Ten lords a-leaping,

Nine ladies dancing,

Eight maids a-milking,

Seven swans a-swimming,

Six geese a-laying,

Five golden rings,

Four calling birds,

Three French hens,

Two turtle doves,

And a partridge in a pear tree!

Happy Holidays!

 

Hello, Beautiful!

Monkey mirrorStudies show simply hearing a compliment, such as “You are beautiful,” even from a perfect stranger – can brighten your day.

Why wait for someone to tell you that you are beautiful? Why not start each day by looking into those sweet little eyes of yours in the mirror and sharing a “Hello, Beautiful” with yourself? 

Telling yourself you are beautiful, is an act of self-compassion. Saying it out loud is a act of courage, and can reduce your holiday stress by putting a smile on your face and maybe even a bit of merry in your mood.

Don’t worry if you feel shy, or even embarrassed; keep up the practice and you will feel the joy. The happier you are, the more likely you will be to notice the beauty in the people and the world around you, which is a true expression of the holiday spirit. And, you can share your joy by letting others know how beautiful they are, which is the perfect gift for strangers or your loved ones.

Start today, and by the New Year you will be welcoming 2019 with a brand new perspective to keep the good feelings flowing throughout the year. 

Give it a try, Beautiful, because you are gorgeous, inside and out, and you deserve to hear it much more often.

If you are still hesitant to give it a try, check out this video,  or this one, or this one, or even this one, to see people’s happiness when they are told how beautiful they are. It is heartwarming and my holiday gift you to, and it’s guaranteed to make you smile!

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Measure what matters

Knowing what matters to you and focusing on it can make your holiday season richer, more memorable, and way more fun!

Unfortunately, many of us have a tendency to fill our holidays with strife and worry and thoughts of who gets what and who doesn’t; who gathers where and who doesn’t and what gets done and what doesn’t, we drown out much of the joy of the holiday season before it even has a chance to surface.

We layer our lives with so much stress that when magical moments appear – the kids playing quietly in front of the lit Christmas tree at dusk, an unexpected card or gift from a loved one, watching a child help a grand parent, a heartfelt hug or the mention of how much we mean to someone or even the kind gesture of a stranger – we barely notice or bother to savor them.

The good news is, studies show that what we focus on tends to grow. Therefore, if we focus on what really matters to us, we can increase the likelihood that those things will move center stage in our lives because we will be more likely to notice and enjoy them.

Start by asking yourself what really matters to you.

Christmas Holiday (2)What do you want to celebrate throughout the holiday season?

What are your personal beliefs and values related to the season?

In simplest terms, what is most important to you? Family? Love? Togetherness? Religion? New Experiences? Traditions? Food? Fun?

Once you know what matters it will be much easier to notice those things and begin planning ways to integrate more of them into your holiday plans. And, with practice you will soon be sloughing of the stress and slights that normally occupy your mind.

How to make your season brighter

  1. Ask yourself what really matters to you. What do you want to hold in your heart this holiday season?
  2. Then capture every moment that matches what matters to you. Note and savor the moments as they occur.
  3. To reinforce your resolve and truly impact your holiday spirit, use one of these suggestions.
    • Jot down your memorable moments in a journal. (You can start a special holiday journal, pack it way with the holiday decorations and have the fun of re-reading and adding to it each year.)
    • Write your moments on bits of paper and store them in a jar to read during or after the holiday. (The jar can be saved from year to year and enjoyed year- long or before next year’s holiday season.)
    • Write your moments on holiday-colored paper and create a paper chain throughout the holiday with all the moments you have enjoyed and want to remember.
    • Encourage your kids, spouses and even your guests to add their special holiday moments to your jar or chain and watch them grow along with everyone’s holiday spirit. (Next year to spread the joy, you can make gift jars or chain supplies for other family members and share them in November or early December!)
    • Take a few minutes each night before you go to bed or when you wake-up to review these special moments.
    • Or, simply put a penny in a jar or bowl to capture each moment and watch your “riches” grow.

Truth is, we are in control of the holidays ahead. I know it seems like life is moving too fast, and that the gift lists, demands and commitments grow longer and greater each year, but in my case so has the love. And, the more I remind myself of that, the brighter my season shines.

Here’s to enjoying the holidays ahead!

Please note: This post was adapted from an previous year’s Wishful Thinking Works post, because I loved it so much and it was a great holiday reminder for me!

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Register for your Free Wishful Thinking Works Discovery Session!

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