How to Set Boundaries to Transform Your Life

Would you like to make more time for the important things in your life? Do you feel like you often get lost in the details?

If you can set healthy limits, you’ll regain control of your life. Some benefits of this can include:

  • Life is simpler, more manageable, and therefore more stress free.
  • You’re able to achieve your goals.
  • When you value your time and show that you have priorities, others will also see your time as valuable.
  • You become more effective in almost everything you do.

Rather than focusing on life’s trivia or biting off more than you can chew, read on for some tips on setting boundaries that work for you. 

Examine Your Routine

To start this process of boundary setting, look at your daily routine. What consumes most of your time? Try to identify the places where you feel overloaded.

Maybe it’s watching too much television, spending too much time on Facebook or Twitter, or subscribing to too many blogs or newsletters. Perhaps you’re just glued to your mobile phone. Calculate how many hours you spend on such activities and cut down on them.

Then, try allotting a certain amount of time to each of these activities. Maybe give yourself an hour for your email instead of two. Each day, write down exactly how much time you spent.

After a week, look at your numbers. Did you do better than before you were tracking your time? More importantly, did you feel like you had more time for what you really wanted to do?

Refrain from trying to deal with everything at once. Address each time individually, and you’ll gradually see a change in your routine.

Identify Essential Tasks

Once you begin to set limits on your activities, you’ll be able to simplify further by sticking with the essential ones and reducing the trivial. The essentials may be organizing your closet, catching up with your reading, or balancing your checkbook.

Determine your values and goals. The essentials will depend on these. Whatever you choose should make a big difference to your life. For instance, if you want to be a good athlete, you’ll make the time to train on certain days during the week. If you can’t read through all your emails on those days, that’s okay! That’s not your #1 priority for the day, anyhow.

You may want to make a list of things to do. Then you can set your priorities. For example, you could put off cleaning the kitchen shelves in order to pay your bills.

Be Aware of Your Energy Levels

You may set out to clean your entire house in a day or take the kids to the park for a ball game and find your plans impossible because you just don’t have that kind of energy. Know your limitations and work within those boundaries for greater success.

Budget

Just like you’ll want to know your personal limits, you also need to know your financial limits. Make an effort to align your spending with your goals and values. For instance, if one of your values is knowledge, you might choose to buy a book rather than a new outfit.

Ultimately, if you’re looking for more hours in your day, these tips are a great place to start. Try out some of the suggestions above and you’ll begin to set boundaries that work for you. By doing this, you can simplify your life and make the most of work and leisure times. Best of all, you can start today.

Four Tips for Triumphing Over Emotional Setbacks

There’s a saying that goes, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” If this rings true to you, even a little bit, you can apply the expression to any emotional setback you experience. Each challenge can serve as both a learning tool and a growing experience if you let it!

Maybe you’re trying to recover from a breakup, or perhaps you’re learning to cope with the passing of a loved one. Whatever your situation, it’s possible to take action to enable you to feel less overwhelmed by these emotions.

The route you take to healing can help you gain valuable benefits from your challenging experiences.

Try these tips to triumph over emotional setbacks and get back to the happy, healthy life you’re accustomed to:

  1. Help someone in need. There’s always someone who’s worse off than you are! Chances are, if you spend time trying to help that person out of the slump they’re in, you’ll feel fulfilled and capable. In turn, this will help you rise above your own emotional setback.
    • Emphasize their strengths. Show them that they have what it takes to overcome.
    • Provide the emotional support they need. A listening ear can do wonders!
    • Allow yourself to lose yourself in that person’s cause.
  2. Get in tune with your spiritual side. Reaching inward is a very effective way to build the strength you need to recover emotionally. Whether you’re into meditation or spiritual guidance from a higher power, you can gain strength by drawing on your internal resources.
    • Try praying for emotional healing.
    • Spend time contemplating prior experiences that showed you the power of faith.
    • Most of all, believe in your abilities to overcome. If this seems hard to put faith in, ask for help from a trusted counselor. Or go straight to your higher power.
  3. Sign up for a project. Sometimes putting aside your personal feelings and focusing on a worthy cause can help you heal without you even knowing it! Your project could be a charitable feeding program to help others. Or perhaps you’d feel engaged by a sculpting course that brings out your creative side.
    • Disconnect from the source of your emotional downfall and focus on making a positive impact elsewhere.
    • Put your heart into your new project so that your emotions are engaged in something other than your sadness.
    • Share your fulfillment with friends and family.
  4. Confront your issue. Beyond all else, the most effective way to get over emotional setbacks is to look the issue right in the face. That way, you can handle the issue for what it really is. Sometimes, coming to terms with an unfortunate reality is the best remedy!
  • Are you feeling challenged by a breakup? Take an honest look at the outcome. Are there any ways that you’re better off without that person in your life?
  • Is the issue the passing of a loved one? Regardless of what you believe about what happens after death, chances are good that they’re in a much better place!
  • Did you lose your job? Take a step back and look at yourself. Which of your untapped resources can you use to turn your dilemma into a beneficial situation? Are you sitting on a talent you never explored?

We’re all designed to feel emotions, both good and bad. But we’re also made to learn from them and allow them to connect us to our true purpose in life. You’re no different!

Embrace your emotions for what they are. Accept them. Then move forward, knowing that what you learn now will help sustain you through a lifetime of challenges and joys.

Fall Home Cleaning Projects Provide Teachable Moments for Your Kids

As summer shifts into fall, the kids return to school and you settle in for whatever the season brings.

For many of us, this means tasks around the house. Including the children in home cleaning will provide you with plenty of opportunities for teachable moments.

Whether you plan to clean from floor to ceiling or just do a few little things, you can use some of your fall projects to educate your kids about a variety of topics.

Cleaning Out Drawers

One task that many parents face with disdain is cleaning out drawers. However, you can use this project as a wonderful way to introduce young children to sorting and counting. Learning to group “like” things together is an important aspect of developing math skills.

For older kids, cleaning out drawers helps to sharpen organizational skills as they must decide how to store their clothing in an orderly fashion. Parents might offer suggestions or reinforce the choices their kids make when cleaning out drawers.

Raking Leaves

Teaching kids about how work pays off will put them on the road to work success in the future. One fall project that demonstrates how to have fun and get results from hard work is raking leaves.

Kids of all ages can join in. Parents can assign “jobs” depending on the kids’ ages. You can teach about taking responsibility for their jobs, the importance of cooperation, and the pride of getting the desired results from your work.

While you’re raking leaves, feel free to educate your children about what happens to plants and animals when the weather starts cooling down. Ask questions about what they’ve studied in school that may relate to what you’re doing or to the changes that occur during fall.

Rearranging Furniture

Including your children in this home project will provide plenty of teachable moments.

Have a simple measuring tool, such as a sewing tape measure, that can be easily manipulated by little fingers. Assign jobs of measuring furniture width, height and depth to the kids. These jobs pertain to all types of subjects: math, algebra and maybe even geometry.

Encourage your children to visualize how the room will look with certain furniture placed in various ways. If it’s their own room, ask them what arrangement they’d like most. Then, discuss how and whether their plans will work.

If you like, you can even have the kids sketch out their floor plans on graph paper as a simple introduction to design and engineering. Of course, you’ll want to show the kids about cleaning before you place furniture in its new space.

Cleaning the Garage

In cleaning the garage, as in any task around the house, you can talk about a positive quality that your child has and reinforce their efforts.

Also, encouraging your kids to think of “green” ways to re-use or recycle items you no longer want provides a fantastic way for them to learn about reducing your family’s carbon footprint.

Discuss local charities and swap meets where you can take items you don’t want. You’re educating your children about those charities and why they’re necessary. Also, you’re teaching about the social agencies your community has to offer.

Including your kids in your seasonal tasks may take a little more time and effort on your part. However, they’ll grow up loving to learn if you infuse education into working around the house. Increase your children’s chances for success by using fall home projects to provide teachable moments.

5 Quality Family Activities to Enjoy During Autumn

Autumn is a season when you can spend more quality time together as a family. Shorter days mean that the kids are home earlier, and cooler weather invites everyone to spend more time indoors.

Try some of these ideas as inspiration for wholesome family activities this fall:

  1. Have a fall fun day. If you have younger children, plan a day to just experience the season together.
    • You might start out by raking leaves, collecting and bagging them and moving them to the curb for pick-up. Encourage the kids to collect leaves of various sizes and colors.
    • Point out the sights and smells of autumn in your yard and community. This activity has all sorts of benefits: outdoor physical activity, elements of cooperation and responsibility, and plenty of communication.
  2. Visit your local pumpkin patch or farm. Especially if you have younger children, they’ll be delighted to experience the sights, textures, and smells of agriculture.
    • Let each of the kids select a pumpkin or two for the fall holidays. Grab some decorative gourds to bring the sights of autumn into the house. Add some cinnamon or apple pie potpourri wafting in the air, and you’ll help the entire family get into the spirit of fall.
  3. Enjoy fall-focused dinners. Encourage family members to work together to prepare a favorite fall meal. Even little ones can participate by setting tables, stirring ingredients together and serving a favorite food.
    • Corn on the cob, fall squash, potatoes and a favored entrée can help create memorable traditions around fall dining. Dessert can be pumpkin or apple pie or other seasonal family favorites.
    • Provide art materials for the kids to make autumn-related placemats or place cards.
    • Preparing and enjoying a special meal together gives every family member a chance to participate. It also makes great opportunities for communication to enhance your family relationships.
  4. Hold a story night. With the fireplace going and everyone sipping hot chocolate and snacking on their favorite goodies, fall is a perfect time to enjoy reading together.
    • Find a book that everyone in the family will enjoy. Harry Potter can be a great place to start, but there are many other options, too.
    • Have everyone take turns reading a few pages or a whole chapter.
    • Holding story night one evening a week is a wonderful way for your family to re-connect, relax and enjoy each other’s company.
  5. Spice up your movie night. Do a little initial research by finding movies that have family-friendly plots or storylines that stimulate family discussions.
  • Some examples include: What About Bob, Pay It Forward, Freaky Friday, Kung Fu Panda, and Finding Nemo.
  • This is another activity where you might allow the kids to take turns selecting. However, if you’re seeking movies with morals or special messages, you might want to help “steer” the children’s selections by providing the names of 3 or 4 movies and letting the kids choose from among those.

Take advantage of the incredible opportunities that autumn offers for making memories with your children. Whether you go for a family outing together or just gather for an old-fashioned movie night, you can spend more quality time with your family this fall!

Finding Hope in Your Life

How can you cultivate hope when things look bleak? In many ways, being happy is about having hope for the future.

Feeling like there is no hope is one of the most challenging emotions to manage. After all, why would someone even try when he believes there is no hope, and correspondingly, no possibility for things to improve?

Finding hope when it seems like there’s none to be found can be tricky, but it is possible.

It’s important to remember that no matter how hopeless things appear, there’s always the opportunity for things to get better. Even if it doesn’t seem like it at the time, things can change.

All of us have challenges at times, and we all have moments where there doesn’t appear to be a way out. Yet everyone who doesn’t give up seems to come out of his or her struggles okay.

When you’re feeling down, try these strategies to help bring back hope:

1. Consider all the miraculous things you’ve done in your life. You’ve probably learned how to walk, talk, and maybe even how to drive. Perhaps you’ve graduated from high school or college.

• Let’s think for a minute about learning how to talk. It doesn’t seem very miraculous; nearly everyone learns to do it. But consider how difficult it really is.
• Babies start out making unintelligible sounds. In a couple of years they can say a few things, though not very well. In a few more years, they can say a fair amount – though still struggle with pronunciation. This is all after years of daily effort.
So regardless of what you’re facing, remember your earlier miracles and know you’re entirely capable of working through it. For humans, the seemingly impossible is, in fact, possible.

2. Absorb optimism. Surely you’ve come across people who persistently see the bright side of things. They’re the ones that could stand in the middle of the worst thunderstorm the world has ever seen and say, “I think it’s starting to clear up.” 

Seek out these people and spend time with them. Their optimism will soon start to rub off on you. Talk to them about your challenges; they may have a perspective that can really give you a push in the right direction.

3. Think of activities that might inspire you. Use every tool at your disposal.

• Faith could be a source of inspiration.
• Simple joys, like watching children play on the playground, might bring you the spark you seek.
• Try reading books that chronicle the triumphs of others.

4. Spend time with those less fortunate. Volunteering to help the homeless or hospice patients can show you that things aren’t quite as challenging as you originally thought.

Sometimes when you observe firsthand how difficult things can be, you develop a different perspective about your own situation.

5. Also, spend some time with miraculous things. For many, nature’s bounty is awe-inspiring, from flowers and waterfalls to butterflies and spider webs. When you see what’s possible, you realize that you’re capable of remarkable things too.

6. Be courageous. Often, cultivating hope requires courage to take that first step forward. Give yourself the chance to find your way through your challenges.

If you want to find hope in your life, you always can! Although your search for hope might take some work, never give up. Just keep working through it and you’ll discover that you have plenty of reasons to be hopeful.

Another very good option is to seek the help of a trained professional. Regardless of your challenges, there are always ways through them.