Five Ways to Enhance Your Relationship

Relationships can seem so easy at the beginning. Love comes naturally. But over time, other parts of life start to compete for your attention. Pretty soon, the relationship isn’t getting much focus. You and your partner both start to wonder where the good times went.

Considering the joy that can come from a healthy relationship and the potential challenges a failed relationship can present, you want to do your best to stay happy together. This is even truer if there are children involved.

Try these strategies to quickly put your relationship back on track:

  1. Make time for each other. Remember when you first fell in love? Your relationship was a huge priority. You made time for the other person. There wasn’t much you were going to let stand in your way. After a while, time together became the thing in your life that gets attention after everything else has been taken care of.
    • Setting aside time for a date night once a week or even every other week can be enormously helpful. If you have kids, maybe you can swap babysitting nights with another couple.
  2. Volunteer together. If contributing to others’ lives is important to both of you, this is a wonderful way to enhance your relationship. Sharing an experience that’s positive and meaningful can strengthen the bond you share. Time spent like this also allows each of you to view the other in a positive light.
  3. Play together. Find something you both enjoy and do it together. Intimacy is gained during those lighter and happier times, not just when life feels heavy and dramatic.
  4. Improve how you deal with conflict. When there’s conflict, are you good at working through this together? A good way to measure this is to consider whether the conflict is likely to happen again. There’s no reason to keep having the same conflict over and over again. If that happens, you didn’t really resolve anything.
    • Instead, focus on finding solutions. The fact that there is a conflict doesn’t suggest that someone is wrong. It simply means that there is a misunderstanding or a disagreement about something. Choose learning and happiness over the need to be right.
  5. Take responsibility for yourself. This may be the most important thing you can do for your relationship. Instead of expecting your partner to make you happy, find ways to take care of you own needs.
  • The other side of this is not spending all your energy trying to make your partner feel happy and secure. You can only contribute to their happiness, not create it.

After you’ve been together a while, your relationship will naturally start to take a backseat to other things. However, for your health as a couple, it’s important to find enjoyable and meaningful ways to spend your time together.

No relationship will sustain itself for long without tending. Our partnerships require care and attention, just like anything else worth having. And as is often true, the more you put in, the more you get out.

Try some of the tips above to devote some much-needed energy to your relationship. You’ll be amazed at how much joy a little attention to your partner will bring.

Finding Your Life Purpose

Do you ever wonder why you’re here? After all, you were created with a unique set of passions and talents that no one else in the world can duplicate! Discovering your purpose in life lets you use your unique assortment of feelings and abilities to bring you greater self-fulfillment.

When you’re doing what you feel like you must have been born to do, you can create a life you enjoy through and through. Your goals will have more meaning to you and challenges will be naturally easier to overcome as you joyfully move toward achieving those goals.

This process for finding your life purpose enables you to tune in to your inner self and figure out what makes you tick. Take the time to find your purpose – your life will certainly change for the better!

Prepare Yourself

For this process, an open mind is optional, but helpful. It doesn’t matter if you don’t think this will work – it just means it might take a little longer. All you really must have are a piece of paper, something to write with, and approximately an hour of peace and quiet.

As you’re doing this exercise, try to empty your mind as much as possible. The clearer your mind is, the quicker and easier the process will be. Also, do this while you’re relaxed, alone, and unlikely to be disturbed.

The Process

1. Focus on your intention. Write at the top of your paper: “This is my life purpose.” This simple act sets your intention in your mind for the next hour.
2. Begin listing your thoughts – even doubts about this process. As you clear your mind and focus on this process, write whatever comes to mind, no matter what it is. If you think to yourself, “This isn’t going to work,” then you would write, “This isn’t going to work.”
3. Brainstorm. Answering these questions will get you started. Then keep writing your thoughts until you find your life purpose.

• What are your talents and abilities?
• Which talents would you like to develop further? Why?
• What are your passions?
• Do you get joy from helping others? Who?
• Have you always wanted to be a philanthropist?
• What activities do you enjoy?
• What have you always wanted to do, but you haven’t done it yet?
• Who do you most enjoy being around? Adults? Children? Why?
• Do you love animals?
• Do you like to travel?
• Do you want more excitement in your life?
• What are your favorite books or movies? Why?
• How do you feel about your relationships?
• Do you take an interest in politics or world matters?
• What is your most important priority in your life? Family? Work? Something else?

4. How will you know? You’ll just know. It will be the answer that fills you with the most emotion. You may even cry. The idea will resonate with you completely, and there won’t be any doubt. Just continue writing whatever comes into your mind until you reach that point.

• Commonly, answers will repeat themselves. A lot of unrelated nonsense is also likely to come out. Our brains can be a little cluttered, and this exercise will expose that fact. Don’t let anything you write distract you from your intentions; odd things quite frequently end up on the paper.

There will be several answers along the path that feel pretty good to you, but remember, you’re looking for the big one. When you see the ones that are good, but not “it,” this means you’re close, but not quite on target yet.

• You’re looking for that one idea that feels overwhelming to you. In this exercise, it’s common for your life purpose to reveal itself in less than 100 ideas, but it can take as many as 400. Keep writing.

How Can I Apply My Life Purpose to Benefit Me?

Now that you’ve discovered your purpose, always try to honor it. To do so, keep it in mind consistently. Ask yourself, “Is this in alignment with my ultimate purpose?” A life lived like this, with direction and intentionality, is a life you can truly enjoy.

 

So don’t wait any longer; schedule a time to do this when you know you’ll have some peace and quiet. Knowing the core reason you’re here is one of the greatest gifts you could ever give yourself.

Organize Your Home Today

A clutter-free and organized house is an admirable goal!

You can successfully manage your belongings and turn your home into the sanctuary you seek with these suggestions:
1. Gather three or four cardboard boxes to use as sorting containers. Then, grab a pen and paper and do a walkthrough of your home.
2. Focus on one room at a time. Right now, don’t concern yourself with the entire house – just the room you’re in.
3. Make notes. As you look around the room, make notes about areas needing better organization. You’re compiling a task list.
• For example, maybe you have clothing and books piled on a chair and want the chair to be clear of all items. Record this in your notebook.
• If you feel overwhelmed by the prospect of straightening the entire room, focus on just one wall or corner of the room. Confidently tell yourself you’ll eventually get through the whole room. Right now, though, you only have to think about this wall or corner.

4. When can you start? Determine when you can begin the de-cluttering and re-organizing process. Ideally, start as soon as you complete your list. If that doesn’t fit with your schedule, find a block of time each day to tackle listed tasks.
• For example, if you have an extra thirty minutes before leaving for work, make that time count by completing one or two tasks on your task list.
5. Plan your process. Once you’ve scheduled the time to take action, you can decide how to go about organizing the room.
• The first method is to follow your list from top to bottom. Begin with the first item you noted and work on that particular task.
• Using the piled chair example, remove items and put them away until the chair is clear. Hang up clothes or place them in the laundry bin or in drawers. Put books on shelves or your desk. Then, go to the next item on the list.
• The second method is to prioritize the areas and tasks you listed by numbering them in the order of importance. Start your work with the task you prioritized as #1 and continue on down the list.
• Regardless of the method selected, take a garbage can or bag into the room before you start. You’ll no doubt find items you no longer need and wish to discard.
• Complete your listed tasks one by one. Don’t start on the next task until you’ve finished the one you’re on.
6. Keep at it. If you think you’ll become distracted, set a timer (on your watch or cell phone) and vow to continue organizing the room until the timer sounds.
7. A place for everything. You might notice some items that don’t have a specific storage spot. Designated storage places are important to being organized.
• Knowing the location of something is far more efficient than having to look all over the house or in every drawer.
• Place these belongings in a cardboard box labeled “Need a storage place.” You’ll get to these items later.
8. Label your boxes and begin sorting. Label one box “Donate” for items you want to give to your local charity. Designate another box “Unsure” for items you aren’t sure you want to keep. Use these sorting strategies to organize and dispose of belongings you no longer want.
9. When you’ve completed all listed tasks, the room is organized. It’s time to find storage solutions and space for the items in your “Need a storage place” box.
• Store similar items together.
• Feel free to place items no longer wanted into your “Donate” box.
• Throw away belongings you no longer need if they can’t be donated.
10. Follow through with every room. Now that you’ve organized the first room of the house, apply these steps for each room one at a time. Your goal is to find a place for all belongings and donate or throw away items you don’t want to keep.
• When your “Donate” box is full, take it to a local charity.
The path toward organizing your home leads you through many challenges. Following these steps will help you achieve your goal of having a clutter-free and organized home. When you’re done, you can relax and bask in the sanctuary you’ve created!

Guide to Getting More Done in Less Time

Time is a luxury. Each of us only has 1440 minutes per day and they go by quickly, so you surely don’t want to waste any of them! By maximizing your efficiency, you can complete every item on your to-do list with time to spare!

Follow these suggestions to help you get more done in less time:

1. Organization. Organization is the key to successful time management. Take a few moments before completing a task, whether small or large, and create a time-saving game plan. Lay out all of your supplies; know exactly where you’ll start and where you want to finish.

  • Create a checklist and check it twice. When laying out your supplies, place them in the order that they’ll be used. In doing so, you’re able to shave a few seconds off of your project time whenever you reach for supplies.
  • Even if you don’t have supplies, you can still benefit from a checklist. Create milestones. If you’re checking the milestones off as scheduled, you’ll know that you’re on the right track. If you’re checking them later than scheduled, it’s time to speed things up.

2. Work in spurts. If you have a time consuming task to take on, rather than dreading the hours of work that are ahead, work in spurts. Working in spurts of 25 minutes, with a five-minute break in between, still allows you 50 minutes of work time without feeling worked to the bone.

  • It’s important to focus solely on the task at hand while working in spurts. If you take even a two-minute break, you’ve lost two minutes of work time and increased your break time by 20%.
  • Concentrate on the one task at hand. If you’re painting a room, the only things that you should be doing throughout your 25 minutes is rolling paint onto the wall and reloading your paint roller. No using the restroom, changing the song, or helping your spouse in another room – just painting.

3. Power-up correctly. In order to be efficient, it’s necessary to start the day off on the right foot. First, get a good night’s rest. If your mornings are dependent on your consumption of coffee, drink a healthy sized cup of coffee accompanied by an equally healthy breakfast.

  • Wake up early. You’ll find that you’re more energized after breakfast and coffee at 7:00am rather than 11:00am. Plus, you’ll add extra hours to your day, which allows you to cross off tasks on your to-do list even sooner. Then, the rest of the day is yours!

4. Eliminate all distractions. Distractions are a part of life and everyone’s schedule is susceptible. Rather than trying to fight them off, eliminate them completely.

  • Turn off the computer, place your cell phone on silent, and unplug the television and all other things that are known to be a distraction to you. In doing so, you’ll be less likely to channel surf, catch up on your Facebook friends, or chat away when your friend calls.
  • If you need to get something done on the computer in a timely fashion, block the websites that are known distractions by using LeechBlock, a Firefox plugin. This plugin allows you to restrict your visitation to the websites of your choosing.

5. Invest in time-saving assets. The final, and possibly most important step, is to invest in items or services which permanently shave minutes off of your day. It may be more money upfront, but you can potentially shave hours of chores off of your to-do list each week.

  • Invest in an automatic floor cleaner to automatically clean the floors each week. Also, a lawn mowing service, purchasing a dishwasher, and opting for carpooling are additional strategies that can shave time off of your to-do list.

Whether you’re hoping to finish a complex task more quickly or simply shave minutes off of your everyday responsibilities, it can be done. Increasing your level of efficiency and focus are the only requirements. To this end, these simple tips will make maximizing your time a breeze.

5 Tips for Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions

If you have a habit of setting resolutions at the beginning of the year and then abandoning them a few days later, now is your chance to try something different. Imagine how the course of your life could change for the better if you followed through on your resolutions until you achieved your goals!

Change Your Thinking

It’s very possible to overcome your habit of giving up on New Year’s resolutions with a few basic tips. Above all else, avoid regarding your resolutions as something to aspire to and then forgetting them when they no longer seem pertinent or interesting. New Year’s resolutions can be extremely enriching and self-improving if you find a way to maintain them throughout the year.

Here are some tips for keeping your resolutions:

1.      Make a commitment. You must be willing to make a strong commitment to change in order for your resolutions to be successful. Believe that you can, and will, accomplish what you set out to do. If you give yourself unwavering support, then you’ll bolster that belief and achieve what you seek.

  • Choose New Year’s resolutions that you genuinely want to achieve. Make positive resolutions and focus on the positive aspects of achieving them.
  • Tell everyone you know about your resolutions. When everyone knows what you’re setting out to achieve, they can help hold you accountable.
  • Plan ahead rather than choosing your resolutions at the very last moment. The longer you spend planning and preparing for your resolution goals, the better the results will be.

2.      Have realistic expectations. Continued motivation is the key to achieving your goals. If you set the bar too high, then you also set yourself up for failure, which can be profoundly de-motivating for you.

  • Aim realistically, rather than too high. Give yourself a challenge, but not so much of a challenge that you end up setting yourself up for inevitable failure.
  • If you plan on setting similar resolutions as last year, consider first and foremost why last year’s resolutions failed. If your resolutions didn’t work last time, then determine why in order to avoid a repeat performance.

3.      Write down your goals. When you put your resolutions into writing, you make them real. You put your commitment down on paper. Put your goals where you can see them, in written form, so you won’t forget what you’re setting out to achieve this year.

4.      Plan out your goals. Articulating what you intend to achieve this year is a big part of setting resolutions, but planning how to achieve them is a completely different story. Write down a plan for each resolution that you want to achieve rather than simply hoping for the best.

5.      Give your goals flexibility. Not everything is going to work out exactly the way you planned, so be flexible in the goals that you set. Avoid allowing rigid resolutions to throw you off track if something doesn’t go quite how you planned it. Try to predict what challenges you may face, and create a contingency plan for those challenges just in case.

Bottom Line

You can keep your New Year’s resolutions if you do a little bit of planning and preparing ahead of time. Just like any goal setting process, the key is to be realistic about your goals and the challenges you may face in trying to achieve them. The more realistic and flexible you are, the more likely you’ll be to achieve your goals.