Motivational Monday: Reality & Dreams

I spent the other night looking at photos from the past 5 years and found myself comparing my life then to what it is now. When looking back those years feel like a dream because my life is so different than before.

I thought to myself, what if someone new came into my life and looked through photos of my past? While I realized they’d know more about my past without any explanation from me, I also realized what happened then doesn’t define who I am now.

Every experience and challenge has shaped me into who I am today. This is the same for anyone, we are not who we are yesterday if we choose. But that’s the key, we have to choose who we want to be-that’s our reality. Defined by our experiences and left to dwell on the past? Or take the lessons from the past and move on, keep going and stay positive.

So, what days will you choose to have?

Motivational Monday: Take Small Steps to Declutter Your Home

For the past month I had let receipts, bills and general paperwork pile up in my living room. During the week I kept thinking I needed to clean my apartment but never made time. So, as I was leaving this weekend for a getaway I knew I HAD to clean this week. Once I got home on Sunday I spent three hours decluttering my home. An hour in the kitchen, bathroom and living room.

While I did this I listened to the podcast-Fit, Fierce and Fabulous by Courtney Bentley and then YouTube- Amy Landino’s channel-Amy Tv. I highly recommend having something educational play while doing mindless tasks because you can focus in on learning something new!

Now that my space is decluttered and clean, my mind doesn’t have to worry about when I’ll need to make time to clean. I find that setting time frames for myself makes it easy to get tasks done. This also helps to not make the chores last all day. And you can get a little Me Time in too-my Me Time was working on my blog.

If you still have cleaning and organizing to do after your set time frame is up-set up another date and time for when you’ll get this done. Having this planned means holding yourself accountable and not letting it drag out for a month, like I did!

Tip: Use a planner to write out your goals so you can visualize what your day will look like to get the project done.

Does decluttering your home make your mind less anxious?

Motivational Monday: Make Use of Your Time

What would you do if you had all the time in the day to do anything you wanted? Would you start a new hobby or work on one the one you’re currently doing, travel, workout, spend time with loved ones.

Did you know that we spend our free time doing exactly what we want (within our means)? Whether we need a break to just watch a movie/TV show or scroll through social media. But what if you could turn that time around and spend it doing something that will make you really happy? What if you spent that time doing one of the things mentioned above and it inspired you to start something new?

Sometimes when we take a break, it will inspire us to be more creative. Thoughts will come pouring in about what we should be doing. All we have to do is listen to them and then take action. Whatever that thing was that came to mind was there for a reason and it’s telling us that this is what we want. Maybe it’s to travel to another country, go visit a friend in another state, join a group that interests you, start a new career or move to new state.

If you decide to move forward with your thoughts, make a plan to execute, save money if needed and see where it takes you! Once you get there, write down your thoughts from how spending this time doing what you wanted made you feel and recognize if it’s something you’d do again.

How do you make use of your time? Has something inspiring ever come to you where you listened to it and it changed you? Please let me know in the comments!

How to Resist Foods-And Why I’m Giving Up Chocolate for the Month of June

Here’s why I decided to take on this challenge-I want personal growth of not relying on chocolate to be the only satisfying food in my life. Immediately after dinner I’ll want chocolate and it doesn’t matter if I’m full from dinner or not, I just want it, so I’ll eat it regardless. However, I’ve realized that the foods you don’t have in your home means you can’t eat them. It’s been YEARS since I’ve walked down the cookie and soda aisle to pick up a box of cookies or bottle of soda. I realize now I can incorporate this same method into buying healthier items instead of something chocolatey for after dinner-like ice cream, chocolate ice cream sandwiches, etc. Last year, I realized that every time I bought a regular size tub of ice cream I’d devour it in a LESS THAN A WEEK. Once I caught on to doing this, I stopped buying it, again, I didn’t walk down the ice cream aisle.
I’m not saying I’m never going to buy or eat chocolate again. I’m doing this experiment to see how much will power I have to go without chocolate for one month and to make myself eat healthier options after dinner and on the weekends as a snack.
Here are my tips when it comes to self-resistance of chocolate or any food you’re trying to avoid while shopping at the grocery store:
1. Have a positive mindset-Tell yourself that you’re taking on this challenge for a good reason. Decide what you want to substitute chocolate (or any food) for. For me, this is fruit-raspberries, grapes, blackberries or blueberries. While I know fresh fruit can be pricey, it’s also substituting for the chocolate I’m not buying, which ultimately costs the same price.

2. Do not walk down the grocery aisle that the food you need to avoid is in-This is simpler than it sounds. If you’re trying to avoid eating cookies, don’t walk down the cookie aisle. IF YOU DON’T HAVE THE FOOD IN YOUR HOME, YOU CAN’T EAT IT. This is why it’s important to make substitutions instead of going cold turkey. Because I’m use to eating chocolate after dinner, my rule is to either make dinner portions big enough so I’m full or subbing chocolate for fruit.
**If for some reason you have to walk down this particular aisle, be mindful by telling yourself not to stare at the items and keep walking.

3. Give yourself a timeline-Make this sustainable-not too long or too short. You want to give yourself enough time to really explore how you feel about the challenge. Do you have cravings or is the fruit you’re eating keeping you satisfied?

4. Think about the benefits of why you’re making this change-Mine is for health and mindfulness reasons. After graduating college, I received my first cavity. I was convinced it was from two things, becoming older and years of eating whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. During college I drank lemonade (hello, sugar overload!) like it was my job. Once I got that cavity filled, I only drank water. I switched my mindset of allowing myself to ONLY drink water. I also want to be more mindful of what I’m putting in my body and knowing when to stop after being full from dinner. I started a workout routine and since then I’ve noticed my body tells me when it’s time to stop eating. Also, the healthier foods you put in, the more energized your body will be!

5. Don’t give up-If you’re going to commit to a challenge for a certain timeframe, make sure to stick to it! Tell your loved ones too, so they won’t tempt you with the foods you’re trying to avoid.
Any of these tips can be useful for changing your lifestyle in many different ways. Create goals and timeframes to accomplish what you’ve set out to do and they’ll become a positive way of life.
What food would you give up for an entire month? Have you ever used any of these tips to accomplish your goals? Please let me know in the comments below!

Motivational Monday-Start Mindfulness Now

Being mindful starts with having a clear mind. So, how do you achieve a clear mind? By making time to do so and by not thinking about what is bothering you but rather acknowledge it and do something mindful for a while. Mindfulness is also being present of your surroundings and of your own self. If a situation you’re in is difficult-a hard workout routine or a difficult time in your life-try to remind yourself you’re going to get past it by remembering that it won’t last forever. In the end whatever you’re going through is a lesson and will make your mind stronger.

You can achieve mindfulness by telling yourself that you’re going to do an activity at a set time. This should calm your mind down from any stress you’re currently having.

Some of the things I enjoy doing to clear my mind include: taking a walk, working out, listening to podcasts, reading books or blog posts. While all of these do clear my mind of stress or negative thoughts, I’m also learning along the way. Listening to a podcast while doing a mindless task like washing dishes means I can focus on what the podcasters are talking about.

I know that some people love working out in the morning and I can totally see why, it’s a great way to get energized for the day (I do this on Saturdays)! I’ve always loved working out at night because I go directly from work to working out. This means I can focus my mind on things like: what the teacher is showing me to do, what everyone around me is doing and what I’m doing. The workout routine is difficult, but being mindful that it won’t last forever and that the results will show my hard work helps to keep my mind positive. Working out helps to clear my mind of work stress that I would have otherwise carried with me on the drive home. For the nights that I’m not working out, I’ll come home and put on a podcast to listen to, to relieve my mind from work or stress.

Any way that you can become more mindful of your current situation is going to make you have a stronger will power to get through anything. When this happens, you’ll be more determined to take on new challenges.

How do you stay mindful? Do you have any tips on being mindful or what you enjoy doing to clear your mind?

How to Organize Your Closet-Part Two

Last week I shared How To Organize Your Closet-Part One

This week I’m sharing the way I’ve kept my closet organized for over two years and it works! It’s not difficult to keep up with and once you master the easy technique, you’ll have it down packed. Having an organized closet saves you time in the morning getting ready. It means you don’t have to think about what to wear as much as you would if your clothes were everywhere. Also, it means you’ll know exactly what you own, what you need to enhance your wardrobe and what you no longer wear.

1. First, organize by category and sleeve length-these are items you’ll hang in your closet.
Categories: Shirts, cardigans, dresses and pants.
Sleeve length for shirts, cardigans and dresses-sleeveless, short sleeve, three quarter and long sleeve.
Dresses and pants can be hung up after these items or in a separate space of the closet. Put them the same way you would with the sleeve length.
2. Organize clothes by color-the rainbow. Within each color put the clothes lightest to darkest.
Example: Hang light blue to dark blue-Exception: If a light blue shirt has white lace on it, hang it before the first light blue shirt. I hang white cardigans before the cream ones and a black cardigan with white before an all-black cardigan.

Tip: When adding new clothes to your closet, follow the first two steps.
For some room savers in your closet-hang up accessories like scarfs and belts on a scarf hanger-the belts can hang on the hook of the hanger. If there is an accessory you wear with a specific item (black belt with a black dress, hang it on the hanger of the item).

Tip: Every morning when I use a hanger from the closet, I’ll put it in the front of the tank tops then after doing laundry I can grab all the hangers and hang up my clothes exactly where they need to go. This solution has helped me to not search for hangers throughout my closet.

The key to having an organized closet is to maintain it. Hanging clothes up after they get out of the laundry is super easy if you maintain your closet this way. Why? Because you’ll know exactly where everything goes. Again, you’ll know exactly what you own, what pieces you need to buy and what you no longer reach for and can donate or sell.

Do you have any closet organization tips? Please let me know in the comments! Or on social media-@stylestomakeyousmile

Motivational Monday: Replace the Words, “I don’t have time” with “I’ll make time”

There is always something that we wish we could do more of but people will tell you they don’t have time to do so. So, how you make time to do the things you love?
Replacing the words, “I don’t have time” to “I’ll make time” can help anyone get in the right mindset of making positive choices for their life today. The things you put off because you don’t have time, try to put into perspective, how long is the thing you don’t have time for really going to take? Fifteen minutes? A half hour? An hour? Once you’ve recognized how long it will take, figure out a time frame that fits into your day.

Decide today that tomorrow you will wake up and do whatever it is you claim you don’t have time for. Whether that means you need to wake up earlier, take a break from the TV or social media, do whatever it takes to get it done.

Today, you can write what it is you want to get done in your calendar for tomorrow which will hold you accountable because you’ve written it down-this is all about visualizing that what you’ve planned for tomorrow IS GOING TO HAPPEN. Visualization is a key component to realizing your goals.
Lastly, hold yourself to your promise that you will spend the time it takes do what you’ve written down. Making time for yourself is so important because it shapes who you are and who you want to become. You then go from a vision of saying this is what I keep claiming I don’t have time for, to I’m making the time to do it, and look what I just accomplished! Keep writing down things you want to get done in your calendar so you can achieve more of your goals.

What are some things you need to make time for? Please let me know in the comments!