How to Make a Habit of Being Grateful in Everyday Life

Fortune Cookie Life Lesson #23

They will be grateful that you cared enough to make it.

I feel like being grateful does not come quickly. I feel like you have to learn a few things to appreciate what being grateful is like. I only learned the true meaning of this word a few years ago when I was battling one of my life’s most significant storms, and my gratitude for what I had was what was holding me together. Before my struggle, I was pretty carefree and did not take the time to recognize the things that were in my life that I was lucky to have. I wish that I would have learned this lesson way before I had hit rock bottom, but there is always a time and place for lessons especially those that involve life. Here are some techniques that I have learned to be grateful and keep gratitude in my daily life so that I don’t take what I have for granted.

1. Commit to Being Grateful

When you commit, you are taking the time to take part in the activity, and it will hold you accountable to finish. Taking the time to write down what you are grateful for will help you to stop and think about these things in your life. Taking the time to stop, write it down, and look at these things gives you time to focus and appreciate them for what they are. Writing what you are grateful for is also putting your priorities in perspective and if you are feeling down about what is happening at this point in your life pull out your list to give you a gratitude reminder.
When I journal I sit and try to focus on one thing that I am grateful for in my life. I can be thankful for anything whether it is being in good health or sunshine whatever it is I take the time to write down how it makes me feel and why I am grateful for this.

2. Keep a Gratitude Journal

Lots of people love to journal. I consider my blog a journal and love to write about all my life lesson’s here.
Many times keeping a journal can help you achieve goals that you would like to accomplish in your life. Writing a recorded document will also keep your memories in a unique spot, and you can always reminisce. Writing is also an excellent way to relieve stress. Putting your feelings on paper is an excellent way to get whatever is inside out in a healthy manner. If you are looking to start a journal for recording your gratitude this Minimalism Journal from Amazon is very affordable and come in a variety of nice bright colors.

 

 

3. Slow Down to Acknowledge What it is You Grateful For.

Life is fast-paced, and it is time that you slow down and focus on the things that make you grateful. Slowing down lets you enjoy life’s little blessings. Taking each day at a time lets us become more aware and appreciative of the things we have encountered. I genuinely think that slowing things down makes us more aware of those around us and we then began to be better toward one another. There is nothing better for the soul than the genuine feeling of gratitude, and we want to go out in the world and do better. I experienced this a 14 years ago. I lived the majority of my life not knowing how to be grateful and taking life for granted up until I had my oldest son. Parker was born a month early, and I will say he did not come into this world easily. I was experiencing severe hypertension, and unfortunately, we had the earlier delivery. Even with an early birth, I was not worried my doctor told me these things happen and it will be fine. That was until I had delivered him. I held him for maybe a minute, and they rushed him off without any explanation. It wasn’t until the next morning that I found out our son was barely breathing and had caught a staph infection that was causing his lungs to backfire on him. We immediately flew flight for life to a Children’s Hospital where we lived for over a month, and the first year was filled with ER visits and another flight for life after getting RSV. That first year of Parker’s experience taught me a lot about life’s little blessings and that I should enjoy and appreciate every moment of every day. I woke up that day and realized that there was more to life than what I initially thought and this baby boy showed me a way to never take anything for granted. I am proud to say that after his first year of life Parker is now 14 and is a perfectly healthy teenager. If anything has given me the tools to be grateful, it has been my kids. They teach me the most, and I am genuinely thankful for them.

 

gattitude 2.png

I have compiled a list of 30 things to write about for the things to be grateful for that you can write about in your journal one for each day. I suggest if you can to write on each subject 30 minutes a day that way it gives you an adequate time to slow down and appreciate each one. I challenge you to take a 30-day Gratitude Challenge and slow down a little to focus on the things that you may not typically recognize. I can attest to learning the lesson of being grateful and how it can make your life seem better than you realize. Enjoy this challenge and let me know how it worked for you.

30-Day Gratitude Writing Challenge
1. Good Health
2. Your Family
3. Your pets
4. Your friends
5. Where you live
6. The Weather
7. A hobby you enjoy
8. Your neighbors
9. Your Job
10. Your values
11. You knowledge
12. What you have eaten today
13. Where you sleep
14. The ability to do what you want
15. Your Freedom
16. Your Life Experiences
17. Your Failures
18. Your necessities such as water and electricity
19. What you have learned from others
20. The Holidays
21. The stars at night
22. Your favorite place
23. Your favorite childhood memory
24. The weekend
25. Nature
26. Your Talents
27. For the little things
28. Your body
29. Your abilities
30. The challenges you face

How to Get Out of Debt and Crush Those Money Goals

Fortune Cookie Life Lesson #14

Whatever you want to do, do it. There are only so many tomorrows.

One of the things I want to do is get out of debt. This fortune phrase hit it right on the head and I want out of debt now. Something I struggled with most of my life was my finances. I was never very good at keeping a budget and didn’t quite learn the skills to get me through adulthood. In 2008 my husband and I took a substantial financial hit, and everything came crashing down to an unforgettable end. Unforgettable because this was the time in our lives when we hit financial rock bottom and had to make a change not only for ourselves but make a difference for our kids.
We needed to wake up, and we needed to get our act together, and that is precisely what we did. It was hard, and it felt like it took forever. We kept going even when there were downfalls and unexpected events that would put us behind. With all our effort and teamwork we managed to pull ourselves out of the dark abyss of the debt black hole. It wasn’t easy, but with a little patience and a lot of determination, debt can become a not so fond memory of the past. Here are five ways to get out of debt and get out fast.

1. Goals, Goals, and More Goals
Plan some goals and stick to them. Goals help direct you and keep you focused on the essential things you want to change. Sometimes goals can be very overwhelming especially if you have an enormous amount of debt and you don’t know where to start. If this is the case, start broad and work your way to small. I know it sounds funny but taking a look at the whole picture and breaking it down will make you take a look and see how easy it can be as long as you stick to it.

Long range goals will be goals that you will have years down the road. These goals are the bigger picture. My husband and I have a significant goal to be able to travel and do some van living once we are completely debt free. We have planned to complete this task in the next five years and are working on getting to that point. When designing large goals ask yourself what is it that you want out of life? How long will it take for me to get to that point? Answering these types of questions will help you to understand what it is you want and give you an idea on how to get there.

Next, you should work on planning some medium range goals. These goals can be completed in a couple of years. These goals will help you to attain the big picture, and they can include, paying off certain debt like student loans, or cars. They can also be adding a side hustle to make a little extra income. Medium goals can be made on a yearly basis. Keeping a log can help you attain the common goals. Make sure to be as specific as possible and use positive words when writing them out as this will keep you motivated. Our common goal is mostly based on our side business and keeping it running smoothly and successfully. Our side business requires both of us to put in the time and effort. We also have a monthly budget that we follow that keeps us in check.

Last but not least is making small goals that can quickly be followed on a weekly basis. These weekly goals help you focus on the things you would like to accomplish in 6 months to a year. Our short-term goals are to get vehicles paid off which we have been able to do except for one and pay off any student loan or credit card debt, and we are continually working on this as well. We have managed to take out a pretty big chunk in both the last six months. Like I said we just keep going once one goal is made then we tackle the next. One of the things I like to do to keep me up on my weekly goals and this could be done monthly as well by using a dry erase board, and I write three categories. These categories are Want to Do, Doing, and Done and I will start my week with my task all under the want to do, and when I need to, I move the work to the next category until they are finished. I am a pretty busy lady, and sometimes all the things I think about will almost make my head explode so if I write them down and see them it keeps me organized and creates a less stressful environment.

2. Downsize Me
When we hit our financial crisis, one thing we had to do whether we liked it or not was downsize. We went from a four bedroom home with full basement, garage, and backyard to a three bedroom apartment, and yes it was interesting. We have two kiddos, and they were pretty young at the time, so they had to share a room because I had a side Ebay business that needed an office. We downsized and lived tiny for a while to get ourselves back on our feet. I will tell you my kids looked back on it and didn’t mind it at all. It brought them closer, and they had to learn to get along more. I consider this a blessing being able to do this and learning to minimalize. I became a minimalist because of the very reason of downsizing. It is incredible to realize the amount of stuff you don’t need.

3. Want a Ride
One thing that has helped us out is lowering our monthly gas expense. We live in Fort Collins, Colorado and we have to drive to Denver once a week for our side job, Which is an hour away sometimes a little longer so we have to be careful how much driving we do throughout the week. My husband’s full-time job is six blocks from our house so most of the time he uses a bike not only is it fun for him, but it keeps him in shape. I try to make weekly grocery trips and keep our going back and forth to a bare minimum. When we first needed to get back on our feet, we decided to buy a car from an auction site instead of buying or leasing something newer to save on monthly payments. It also lowered our insurance since the car was older the coverage was less expensive. There are lots of ways to downsize the amount of gas you pay each month, and this can make a big difference on what you will pay at the pump.

4. What’s For Dinner
I get asked this question every single day and more than once by more than one person. I am the meal planner and in most circumstances meal prepper. Back when we thought money grew on trees, we ate out all the time. Now I look back at it and think “Oh my gosh I wasted so much money and half the time what I ate was awful.” We do not eat out if we can help it. Not eating out can save you tons of money and not only that your waistline will thank you as well.
I am a planner, and therefore my meals are planned, and I prepare my shopping by matching coupons, sales ads, and discounts where I can find them. If you are healthy eater that is fantastic because so am I and I will tell you yes you can eat healthy on a dime and I do it all the time. I plan my grocery bill around what is on sale and where my discounts will be found. There are many nutritious foods you can eat that won’t break the bank. I also have an Instant Pot and let me just say this thing is sent from heaven above and is my go-to for most of my meals. I make soups, sauces, beans, rice, vegetables, even meat in this thing and it rocks! Not only does it help me make affordable yummy meals it is so easy to operate just set it up and let it cook.

5. Every Girl Loves Her Shopping and So Does This One
I love to shop and back in the day when I had no clue how to save a dime I did just that I went shopping. I look back now and realize that most of the time I was wasting time and precious savings. I am so thankful that I came to my senses and figured out I can still shop but just have to be more mindful in my shopping. I even have better things now than I did when I was spending money like it was water. How is that possible you ask, I am very keen on season sales and watch many of my online clearance sites. One of my favorite sites is Steep and Cheap. I am an outdoor girl, and this place has tons of outdoor clothing and accessories for huge discounts. Steep and Cheap is by far my favorite place to shop, and you can find some things as much as 90% off. I have paid that much off, and it makes me very happy when I do. To shop with them you need to get on the email list, and it is straightforward so it is easy to join. I also learned that I should only buy for the things I need and not to waste on things I want. So I wear out my jeans and keep shoes around forever. I keep the stuff I have in good shape. I am more aware of how to care for these things, so they do not need to be replaced.

Knowing your goals and planning them out will keep you focused on what you want out of your life. Making changes and downsizing things that you may not necessarily need can give you more to work with when paying off debtors. Carpool, biking, walking, or just being more aware of your driving can save you at the gas pump. Quit the takeouts and fast food and choose a more healthy and less expensive alternative. When you shop remember to ask yourself is this a want or is this a need and if it is a need try to get it at the lowest best price around.

Even though trying to control the debt monster can seem at times impossible know that with patience, dedication, and focus you can control your future. There are only so many tomorrows so instead of waiting jump in today and make those changes to give you the life you want.

6 Ways to Gain Leadership Style

Fortune Cookie Life Lesson #10

Leadership is action not position.

Am I a leader or a follower? A question that I was asking myself when I received my next fortune out of the jar and the answer was merely I have no idea. For most of my life, I would consider myself to have been a follower. I was the type of person that usually goes with the flow and never sighted many opinions about anything. I felt that it may have been easier to live my life that way and that I would avoid social confrontations. Unfortuanlty I think I was holding myself back by not taking the lead in certain situations in my life and that was something I needed to change.
What is leadership? By having leadership skills, one is taking action, and usually, this is done with a group of people or a situation. Leaders help those around them and set the tone for the group. They are vision builders and have a talent for creating new things. I decided that I wanted to have more leadership skills. Doing this takes me out of the comfort zone, and I will feel more secure in my decisions. Being a mom I already have a few leadership skills involving my kids, but I decided that I was going to take action in my choices that include more of myself. Here are 6 six things I practiced to help me to build my leadership style.

1. Set Expectations
Setting expectations for yourself will hold you accountable for your leadership. When I set certain expectations in some of my dealings, I noticed that I did not back down as much. By placing a set of rules ahead of time, I was more willing to stick to them. This was true when I was working on my budget. There were times that my kids or even myself would be tempted to do a little extra, and by setting my expectations on how much I was going to spend, I found it more comfortable to hold myself accountable. When I exceeded my expectations, it gave me a sense of strength and control in my finances.

2. Educate and Learn
Knowlege gives you power. The more you learn about something, the more leadership you can share with those around you. If you want to move up in your job become an expert in the field not only will this give you confidence but you will also find that those around you will respect your skills. I love to learn about health and fitness. Back in the day, I used to be a personal trainer, and I helped individuals get healthy and in shape. I loved the job and loved to help people work toward healthy goals. Even though I am no longer a trainer, I still take these traits with me everywhere I go, and I share my knowledge to help those around me.

3.  Positivity Spreads Like Wild Fire
Be a positive role model for those around you. This especially is true when you are trying to find your leadership style. I work hard not to be a downer, but there have been times that I have that little bit of dought in the back of my mind, and I have had to learn to put a stop to that kind of thinking. Not only will a negative attitude affect you but it also affects those around you. By looking at the glass half full instead of half empty, you are giving yourself a way to think outside the box. Being positive is also a great confidence booster instead of you can’t you start to think you can automatically.

4.  Set Goals and Conquer
Goal setting is an essential characteristic of leadership.
Goals get us where we need to be. By setting goals and conquering them, we show that we can lead a path to success. This is especially true for my husband and me with our finances. We have set goals for our future and have worked hard at attaining each one. Although this has not always been an easy road, we have been able to learn so much about taking control and gaining the reward of financial freedom. For every small goal, we conquered we would add another one to the list and gradually we are advancing to where we want to be in our future. The motivation we have received from conquering our goals is what keeps us going.

5. Manage Change
Nothing in life is smooth sailing. One thing a leader can do is manage those little-unexpected twist and turns in life. If you can achieve the vision even when there are changes you show strength to those around you. The changes you may face could be functional, or they could be dysfunctional, but either way, indicating that you have control over the situation will be appealing to those in the position. I personally like change and feel that change is here to challenge and why not accept the challenge.

6. Be a Coach
Coaches have leadership skills. They have the skills to get the job done. Be your own coach and watch your leadership soar. Coaches build up the team and give the motivation to excel expectations. You can’t sit around waiting for your goal to happen and unfortunately, it may never happen. Be a part of making that goal happen. Make a plan and stick to it and if the plan changes keep moving forward. Work hard, and this will lead to significant results.

What I learned in last few weeks is that having leadership qualities gives you a sense of freedom and control. The probability of getting things done is far more likely with leadership. Becoming an expert in what you want to achieve will help those around you and give you some respect. A positive attitude is everything when working to get what you want out of life. Make sure to set some goals and conquer them. Attaining the goals gives you the strength to keep going and overcoming the next one. Manage changes in your path and gain a sense of power, and be a coach to yourself and those around you by having the tools to build what you want. Be a leader in your life and go forth to motivate and inspire.