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Family Day Long Weekend

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FamilyA month and a half into 2016, it feels like we are moving ahead at warp speed. “Blink and you’ll miss it” feels like it might be the motto of year at this point.

There are constantly just a few more things you’d like to squeeze in if you were given half a chance. That will always be the case.

This Family Day long weekend, take some time and appreciate your family – be it your biological one or your chosen one. Make it a priority and enjoy the time with them. On the list of things that matter most, they are at the top and utterly irreplaceable.  Don’t deny yourself or your family the celebration (be it quiet or loud) that this holiday is all about.

 

The Foundation of Happiness

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Audrey Heburn QuoteWhat inspires you? What makes you excited to jump up and greet a new day? Happiness can come from all sorts of places – some surprising and some not.

Building your foundation on happiness is important because it helps you keep in mind what is important to you and lets that shine. Audrey Hepburn classically and cleverly noted that “Happy girls are the prettiest.” The inner glow happiness gives you radiates outwards in a way that nothing else can.

So how do you get to that happy glowing stage?

  1. Compare Yourself To Yourself – No One Else. Stop comparing yourself with others. Instead, compare yourself to yourself. Why? You will only get happier and stronger by comparing who you were yesterday to who you want to be tomorrow. It’s that whole “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes” idea – a photograph on Instagram or an update on Facebook might leave you feeling inadequate or jealous, but is that the whole picture? Besides, what makes someone else happy might not do if for you at all.
  2. Love to Love. Building your foundation on happiness relies on love. Love doesn’t just mean a significant other; it can be love for friendship, family, animals, hobbies, and loving yourself.
  3. Let the Silly Things Slide. We can’t hold onto what could be holding us back. Letting the little things bother us keeps us from moving forward. We need to start letting the silly things slide instead of holding onto them for dear life. It’s true: everyone makes mistakes. Make mistakes, learn from them, and shake it off.
  4. Your Well-Being. Nothing spells out happiness more than your well-being. Building your foundation on happiness has to do a lot with your well-being. Being healthy, working out, and eating the right foods releases endorphins. Why is it important to build your foundation on happiness through your well-being? It is important to take care of yourself in order to do the other things in life that make you happy. The state of being comfortable, healthy, and happy comes from your well-being.
  5. Do What You Love. The only way to true happiness is to do what you love. Building your foundation on happiness is filling your life up with hobbies and activities that keep you going each day. Do something that makes you happy and something that you have passion for. If you’re not happy with what you’re doing, change it and start building your foundation on work that inspires you and allows you to grow.

Think about what makes you happy and consider it a work in progress. Stretch to get there and enjoy the journey.

Auld Lang Syne

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Another year is coming to a close quicker than I could’ve imagined. I’m not even sure I blinked, but 2015 has zoomed past.  Here’s to a happy, healthy, prosperous, joyful, peaceful, safe, successful and awesome (can you tell I like adjectives?!?) new year.  All the best for 2016!

Happy 2016

Christmas Cheer

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I know I’m not alone when I saw that my world isn’t Christmas-card-ready. This can be a difficult time of year for people for a laundry list of reasons.

What does the holiday season mean to you? Is it strictly about the gifts, the festive menus, the Christmas music, and the artfully decorated homes?  I think the older I get, the less it is about that and the more it is about those intangibles, as hokey as that may sound.

So many little split seconds come together to make the holidays magical. That’s why (to me at least) the holidays are made for making unforgettable moments, no matter if they are loud or quiet. Cheer doesn’t need to be loud, just sincere. It’s about spending quality time with friends and family (and just maybe about finding a moment of “me” time to reflect). Maybe it’s also about finding a star and making a wish or two – like for peace on earth. That’s a classic that we are still aiming for. I think it’s worth a shot.

I hope your holiday season brings some happiness to you and yours. Merry Christmas.

Get SMART

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G O A L S blocksThis year is rapidly coming to a close. There are still reams of things to do – and not all of these things are going to happen without some concerted effort.  To quote renowned philosopher Elbert Hubbard “many people fail in life, not for lack of ability or brains or even courage, but simply because they have never organized their energies around a goal”.  Failing is not on my list of goals. It seems that my to-do list might just need a little bit more structure to it in order to achieve the successes I’m aiming for.

SMART goal setting brings structure into your goals and objectives, and makes them trackable.  Instead of vague resolutions, SMART goal setting creates verifiable trajectories towards a certain objective, with clear milestones and an estimation of the goal’s attainability. Every goal or objective, from intermediary step to overarching objective, can be made S.M.A.R.T. to help you bring your goals that much closer to reality.

Specific: well-defined; clear to anyone that has a basic knowledge of the project.

Measurable: know if the goal is obtainable and how far away completion is; know when it has been achieved.

Agreed Upon: agreement with all the stakeholders what the goals should be; action-oriented and achievable.

Realistic: reasonable and within the availability of resources, knowledge and time; results-oriented and rewarding.

Time-Based: enough time to achieve the goal; tangible and trackable.

SMARTWith setting goals or objectives, life can get a little chaotic and uncontrolled.  Everything comes down to priorities, and what you would like to accomplish – whether you make a conscious choice or go with subconscious preferences.

I think this makes it a case of picking your battles.  If it is that important to you, chart your goals wisely and get going so they can be realized.  Just don’t paint yourself into a corner by getting too detailed with your SMART goals.  Einstein wisely said “logic will get you from A to B.  Imagination will take you everywhere.”  Be wise and find the balance that makes goal setting work for you.

Take 12

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The Christmas season seems to be starting earlier and earlier until it can’t take another step backwards on the calendar without interfering with Halloween. To that end, all the accoutrement associated with the holidays began hitting the shelves in stores earlier this week. Don’t you find that disrespectful, considering we haven’t observed Remembrance Day yet?

There’s a national push to have retailers scale back their holiday cheer in honour of our veterans, and it is starting with a very well-known Canadian. Brett Wilson — businessman, philanthropist and former Dragon’s Den star — is spearheading the idea. He finds it disappointing and all-around inappropriate that stores are putting up things like Christmas lights the moment that Halloween wraps up.

Mr. Wilson notes that he is “noticing more and more the influence of the crass commercialization of Christmas occurring the moment the last witch and chocolate bar is put to bed. And I thought we could use the early part of November to be far more thoughtful and respectful of what our veterans have done for us.” He continues to say that “I get frustrated by the thought that Remembrance Day is one minute for many people. They get word that it’s time to be quiet for a moment and then they go about their daily duties without really putting a lot of thought or effort into the moment.”

Sure, retailers are doing this to drive sales, but are you really Christmas shopping this early in November? I know I’m not. I’m not ready for Christmas carols or shopping right now, and I don’t need a reminder that the Christmas season is just around the corner. By no means am I saying that I don’t like Christmas. I just think that Mr. Wilson is right: we could all stand to show more respect. Lest we forget: it’s not something we should be uttering simply in passing. I think the time between Halloween and Remembrance Day would be better used by retailers to help commemorate those who’ve served; there’s plenty of time after Remembrance Day to boost their own bottom line.

Tomb_of_the_Unknown_Soldier

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the National War Memorial, Confederation Square in Ottawa