Inspiration Kindled

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what being mindful has taught me about happiness

happiness

A few days ago, I read a great article on Medium: The Pursuit of Happiness v2.0 by Mike Sturm. Mike suggests that the concept of pursuing happiness is outdated. True happiness is found by being present in our everyday moments.

I agree wholeheartedly. But as I was pondering the article and reflecting on my own experiences, I couldn’t help but feel that there’s a lot of good that comes from pursuing happiness, too. I realized that in many instances, I enjoy the anticipation much more than the thing itself.

Here’s what mindfulness has taught me about happiness.

Let’s Start with Food

Food makes me really, really happy, okay? Or at least thinking about it does. I’ve always been a dessert person, but in recent years I’ve tried to be more mindful of my enjoyment as I consume sweets. I ask myself: is this worth it?

Most of the time, surprisingly, the answer is no.

Three things I’ve learned about myself + food:

  1. I may crave sweets, but when the circumstances are right, my favorite indulgence is a nice pile of loaded fries. So maybe savory rules the day?
  2. Food rarely lives up to expectations. If you’re eating something for the first time and find yourself really loving it, savor that. This is where mindfulness is the bomb. It will probably be not-quite-as-good if you eat it again.
  3. When eating dessert, the first few bites are the most pleasurable. Don’t save the best parts for last; eat them first! Pay attention. When you’re not loving it anymore, stop.

Where Mindfulness Gets It Right

Moments that are more joyful when I’m mindful:

  • A pleasant (usually solo) stroll outdoors in nice weather.
  • A deep conversation.
  • Those rare times when I wake up feeling 100% comfortable and content.
  • Most of all, laughing with my daughter.

Note: these are all simple things, and for the most part they’re free!

I could probably add many more moments to this list, but I’d rather you use the time to discover your best mindful moments.

A Case for the Pursuit of Happiness

I’m going to reiterate now: in many scenarios, anticipation of the thing is better than the thing itself. And maybe it’s okay to embrace that.

“Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.” ~ Greg Anderson

When our lives are empty of purpose, there can be no happiness. It’s okay to continually strive to be better. It’s okay to want things, to dream things for the future that you can’t have now… as long as you’re mindful of finding joy along the way.

To find happiness along the journey, the key is acknowledging progress. Note the milestones, however small, and celebrate them. This is not new advice, I know, but it is worth saying.

And when — when — you’ve achieved your dream, have a few bites of cake and a glass of wine and move on to the next one ❤.

Takeaway

  1. Both mindfulness and reflection are key to discovering what really makes you happy.
  2. Anticipation can be awesome, and is sometimes better embraced than explored.
  3. Pursue your dream of happiness… but be sure to find joy in the journey!

inspiring this week: reading, purpose, self-discipline

inspiring this week

Hello friends – quick post this week as it’s a holiday weekend.  I hope you all are enjoying fun times with family!

Please note that this is the last week I’ll be publishing this type of post!  If you enjoy reading inspiring this week, please sign up at the bottom of the page to get it delivered straight to your inbox.

Inspiring This Week

  1. I recently discovered Nik and his four-minute books.  Nik is on a mission to summarize the greatest non-fiction out there!  Reading his summaries/key points are a great way to benefit from non-fiction you don’t have time to read, or to figure out if reading a book is worth your time.  Browse his summaries of over 365 books here.
  2. Mark Zuckerberg’s Havard Commencement Speech on purpose is a must-watch.  It’s about half an hour long, but trust me, it’s worth your time!
  3. Leo Babauta has written a fantastic guide on developing self-discipline.
  4. When Dreaming Becomes Doing, Magic Happens is a lovely call-to-action from Blake Powell.
  5. Most of you probably know about Quora by now, but if not, you should head over.  It’s a free forum for anyone to ask and/or answer questions of all kinds.  You’re bound to learn something, but if not, it’s still super fun!

From Inspiration Kindled

I haven’t written as much this past week, unfortunately.

On the blog:

On Medium:

Quote of the Week

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” ~Anne Frank

Wishing you an inspiring week!

 

7 motivational quotes to get you back on track

motivational quotes

As I’ve hinted at in my last few posts, for the past month or so I’ve been pushing myself crazy hard.  I’ve taken on project after project, challenge after challenge… and of course, eventually, something was going to have to give.  I realized today that I haven’t practiced Spanish in a week, or coding for even longer.  I failed to post on Medium for two days (I’m supposed to be doing the post-a-day challenge,) and I didn’t much care.  I didn’t even try.

Today I’ve re-evaluated.  I took a good, hard look at my priorities, and I’m trying to get myself back on track… a more realistic track, this time.

Here are 7 motivational quotes that inspire me to keep going. I hope they inspire you, too!

 1. “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” ~Arthur Ashe

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: do the next right thing.  If you always keep it that simple, you’ll continue to progress.  Even the most daunting tasks will seem less insurmountable.

2. “With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt

See each day as a fresh opportunity.  You can’t change what you did or didn’t do yesterday, but you can choose to use the next 24 hours optimally.

3. “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” ~Nelson Mandela

How many accomplishments have you celebrated that initially seemed impossible?  I know I can name quite a few, and there are even more of these “impossible” tasks facing me in the near future.  I intend to do them anyway.

4. “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” ~Confucius

The most important thing you can do to achieve your goals is to make consistent progress, and consistent progress usually isn’t rapid.  Slow and steady wins the race!  You can read more about how I use this concept in my own list in this post, and download a FREE daily checklist while you’re at it!

5. “Problems are not stop signs, they are guidelines.” ~Robert H. Schuller

This is one of the best attitude shifts you can master.  Instead of letting your problems make you a quitter, always view them as opportunities to learn – and then do it better!

6. “Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” ~Lao Tzu

There will always be necessities that are hard or unpleasant… but every once in a while, your mood and energy peak enough that you feel up to the challenge.  Take advantage of those moments.  They are precious gifts not to be squandered, but they might also be fleeting!

 7. “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” ~Thomas A. Edison

You’ve probably heard the phrase nothing worth having comes easy.  What is easy is getting discouraged along your way and calling it quits.  I like this quote from Thomas Edison not only because it encourages me to keep trying, but to keep trying one more time.  One more time is almost always an achievable goal.

~~~

What is your motivation to start again when you’ve let yourself slide away from your goals?  I’d love to hear your thoughts and tips!

inspiring this week: slow down – a few simple resources to improve your life!

I’ve always looked forward to Sundays.  I treasure them as the traditional “day of rest”.   After church, I either a) go out to eat with my family, or b) come home for a lazy lunch and a nice long nap.  What’s not to love?

Where do you fit in your time of rest?  Your daily/weekly nourishment?  I’ve been reminded lately in more ways than one how important it is to slow down.  We’re all in a hurry, but as Alabama sang in their classic song, “all I really gotta do is live and die.”  Sometimes I have to remind myself to do just that… and trust God with the rest.  Maybe you do too <3.

slow down

Inspiring this week:

  1. Tim Denning’s Slow Down: Life Is Not A Race – a read I especially recommend if you’re struggling with the above!
  2. This week I’ve been binge watching a YouTube channel I just discovered called Mind Over Munch.  Check it out if you’re interested in meal planning and/or real-world nutritional advice.
  3. 37 Simple Daily Behaviors That Will Immediately Free up Hours in Your Weekly Schedule from Thomas Oppong- You’re sure to find something here that can help you out!
  4. Life Lessons From 100-Year-Olds – Having watched this, I think the common denominator in these peoples’ lives is positivity.  They found good and happiness in everything they experienced, even things like war and the loss of children.
  5. Niklas Goeke’s The Perfect Schedule: A Simple Exercise In Life Design suggests a fun and enlightening exercise – what does your perfect day look like?

From Inspiration Kindled

Get your FREE daily checklist!  Read my article, the productivity tool that’s revamped my life, and sign up at the bottom to get your checklist delivered to your inbox!

Or check me out on Medium:

Quote of the Week

“Most of us have two lives: the life we live and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands resistance.” ~ Steven Pressfield

Wishing you an inspiring week!

the productivity tool that’s revamped my life: introducing the daily checklist!

Overwhelmed? Try the daily checklist!

Up until a month ago, I was overwhelmed and in a rut. I was trying to develop a new business and simultaneously take my blog to the next level. I had a toddler and a husband who was out-of-work and always home. On top of that, I’m constantly taking on new side-projects — switching our household to natural, homemade cleaners and beauty products, writing a novel, learning computer code and improving my Spanish, to name a few! Suffice to say, every day I had a massive to-do list.

No matter how many productivity tools I tried to employ, I inevitably found myself sitting at my computer with my daughter trying to crawl on my lap and thinking, what next? I was so overwhelmed, I couldn’t focus on what needed to be done. Little things and big things alike regularly slipped through the cracks.

As a student of productivity, I’ve read many, many theories and tried countless tools. Planner after planner, list after list, time-blocking and day-assigning and habit-tracking. Then one day, it occurred to me to try something new. I put my system into place fairly quickly and got started.

To my surpise, it actually worked.

Gone were my days of wondering what I should be working on, sleepless nights with my busy mind running through fifteen-or-so critical things that I’d missed out on that day. While I still felt overwhelmed at times, the system I’m about to introduce breaks things down into such manageable chunks that it’s easy to accomplish the majority of my responsibilities every day.

It All Starts With One Little Sheet

the daily checklist

This system is not re-inventing the wheel. It was inspired by techniques like habit-tracking and time blocking, plus Mommy Income’s 15-minute hustle. Instead of only tracking small behaviors, like exercising, the daily checklist system involves breaking down your entire day, including large tasks, into 15-to-20 minute chunks.

Let’s take a look at how this might work. Say, for instance, you want to clean your kitchen today. Cleaning the kitchen is among my least-favorite chores because it typically takes me over an hour and involves so many different tasks. How do I make this easier? Instead of writing “clean kitchen” on my to-do list for the day, I might write “wipe down appliances, cabinets, and countertops”, “clean out fridge”, “clean sink”, and “sweep and mop kitchen floor”.

Not only does this break a large, daunting chore into more manageable tasks, it’s also motivating and convenient. If I get around to cleaning the sink and wiping everything down but don’t have time to tackle the fridge or the floor, I can still check off the tasks that I have done and transfer the rest to the next day. Instead of failing to clean the entire kitchen — again — I’ve made notable progress.

Get Your Own Daily Checklist For FREE

 

This system has made a huge difference in my life and what I’m able to accomplish. It’s helped me to finally establish a daily writing habit and stay on top of my business. I hope it will do amazing things for you, too! To get your daily checklist for FREE, sign up below! I’ll deliver the checklist — in two versions, a categorized option and one big list, including tips on how to use it — straight to your inbox!

Once you get the hang of it, I’d love to hear back from you on how the checklist has made a difference in your life, or any suggestions for improvement you have to offer!

 

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