New You for the New Year!!

February’s goal: Practice mindfulness.

February is a month to count your blessings. Be grateful for what you have — whether that is the love of your life, your beautiful children, or your drive for happiness and self-improvement. Being more mindful throughout the day can help you feel appreciation more deeply. You’ll be more patient, more understanding, and you’ll feel freer.

Part of being more mindful is engaging more with your senses. What are you seeing, tasting, feeling, smelling, and hearing right now? This applies during mealtimes too: instead of eating your food on the go, sit down and savor it.

Social media is a great distraction when you have some time to kill, but it’s also just that: a distraction. Instead of staring down at your phone, take those odd spaces throughout the day to observe your surroundings. If you are disengaged from your phone, it is easier for others to strike up conversation with you — and for you to strike up conversation with others. Who knows; maybe you’ll find a new friend.

Love & Sparkle,

Mackenzie

9 Ways To Be Happier In The New Year

Is one of your New Year’s resolutions to be happier? More positive? These 9 tips will help you drastically improve your happiness and don’t take much (if any) extra time in your day. The key to making them work is actually doing them. If you can commit to 30 days – just stick it out for a month – I think you’ll find that you’re much happier in the new year!

Come Up with a Plan

Is there a problem that you’ve been mulling over but can’t seem to fix?

Come up with a plan to get a few steps forward. Whether it’s money, relationships, family, renovations, whatever. Just think of a way to take the next step forward.

If you’re really stuck, try sleeping on it. The solutions to almost every problem I face come to me when I’m just about to fall asleep. Whether it’s what to get my mom for Christmas or all of the candidates I have interview the next day at work. There’s something about that moment just before you fall asleep that makes everything a little clearer.

Be Grateful

This one suggestion will literally change your life. Sometimes it feels nearly impossible to be grateful when everything seems to be going wrong. That’s when you need to be grateful the most!

Eat Healthier

Doesn’t everyone try to do this in the new year anyway? Do yourself a favor and skip the gym membership you’ll probably never use and make small adjustments to your diet instead.

We watched Forks Over Knives and it completely changed how we look at food in our house. Do you have Netflix? If so, definitely add it to your list of things to watch. You’ll be so happy you did!

Get Uncomfortable

It’s just a fact of life that if you stay inside your comfort zone, you’ll never grow.

The secret to growing as a person is to get a little uncomfortable. Do things you wouldn’t normally do and watch your world open up. Say yes to things you’re usually too nervous to agree to. Do something you’ve always wanted to do. Change your hairstyle. Switch jobs.

Really push yourself to make those life-altering decisions that have a big “what if” factor. What if you never try? Then you’ll never know. That’s way worse than trying and failing if you ask me.

Eliminate Negativity

Everyone has come across someone who seems to find negativity everywhere they go. Those kinds of people are incredibly toxic. Not just to themselves, but to everyone around them.

I had a coworker that was exactly this way. The world was out to get her, life was so unfair, no one liked her…and on and on and on. When I would finally get away from her I’d feel like I needed to take a shower and wash the negativity away or something. Even if I was in a great mood, I’d leave her presence with a frown on my face wondering what just happened.

These are the people you need to eliminate or at least greatly reduce in your life.

I am all for trying to help someone through a tough time, but when people are so determined to be miserable and to find the negative side to everything, you’re bound to get caught up in it. Run as fast as you can and be grateful for encountering someone who makes you realize just how lucky you are!

Meditate

This one takes practice, but I’m finding that it’s well worth the effort. If you have a few minutes to just sit in silence and focus on your breath, you can meditate. The key is to not worry about getting to some deep, meditative state or having no thoughts on your mind.

When you meditate and a thought pops up, acknowledge it, and then go back to focusing on your breathing. It really does work wonders and can help you to put things into perspective.

I actually think this is similar to the state you get into just before you fall asleep. That moment when I do my best thinking. Things seem to be more clear.

Practice Positive Affirmations

I know a few of these tips sound like hippy-dippy, New Age craziness, but hear me out. There’s a lot to be said for the power your thoughts have on shaping your life. Kind of like that negative person we talked about. If you go looking for negativity, you’ll find it every time.

Instead, search for the good and you’ll find that wherever you go. Positive affirmations help you create a mindset that will get you more of what you want.

Someone else will tell you you’re thinking these things into existence with the power of the law of attraction.

I’m telling you you’re just lying to yourself so you’re able to conjure up the confidence and the will power to make these things happen. I can tell myself I’m organized all day long. I’m not. But after lying to myself for a little while, I start to feel like maybe if I watch some YouTube videos for inspiration, I’ll think of a way to organize that space.

Then I watch the video, organize the space, and sit back and wonder if it really was the law of attraction. Maybe I’m getting something out of the law of attraction after all.

Get Some “You” Time

This tip is everywhere, but I’m finally realizing what a huge impact not taking any time for myself has on my life.

If you’re always so caught up in taking care of others, running your household, doing chores, managing commitments – pretty soon, you’ll find that life is just racing by and you’re just watching it happen.

Instead, take some time to do some of the tips we discussed above, but take a few minutes to just be by yourself.

Blogging – This is my “me time”, my escape, my passion, and my fun. I absolutely love sharing with all of you and hearing your stories in return. If you haven’t started a blog but think you’d be great at it – DO IT!

If you have no interest in blogging (hint – it’s a CRAZY amount of work, but so worth it!) pick one of your hobbies and make time for it. Even if that means missing out on some precious sleep.

Get Outside!

I read this one everywhere and always roll my eyes.

I have actually given this a try and it was amazing for my mood. Just do it. Get dressed, head outside, and take a few deep breaths of fresh air. Even if it’s only for a few seconds, just getting outside and getting a little dose of the outdoors is enough to help reset your mood.

Now – Actually do it!

I challenge you to try to do each of these things almost every day.

Don’t have the time? Let’s see how we can squeeze all of these into your already very busy day:

Wake up in the morning and before your feet hit the floor, think of three things you’re grateful for.

Eat a healthy breakfast every day because if you eat a crappy breakfast you’re WAY less likely to care what you eat for lunch and dinner.

Spend just a few seconds every day standing outside taking a few deep breaths and being grateful for the great things in your life.

Make a conscious decision every day to eliminate negativity from your life. If someone is constantly bringing negativity into your day, do all that you can to distance yourself. Look at the positive side of the negative people you do have to interact with. They’re what you become if you don’t value the positive things in life. How’s that for motivation?

When you shower, take a few deep breaths and repeat your affirmations about how kick-ass awesome you are.

When you’re lying in bed at night, just before you fall asleep, meditate on your positive affirmations. If something has been bothering you, look at the positive side of whatever problem it is and come up with one step toward either fixing it or accepting it.

See? You can squeeze in almost all of these things without getting up crazy early in the morning or staying up ridiculously late at night. Just adding these to your day will help you to feel happier and more positive about each day.

Give it a try and let me know how it goes!

Are there things that you do every day to make you happy? What would you add to this list? Let me know in the comments!

Love & Sparkle,

Mackenzie

New You for the New Year!!

Why is it so hard to keep your New Year’s Resolutions?

Making positive change in yourself is a lot about breaking bad habits and building new ones. You don’t change your behavior overnight — if you want to change it, and keep it that way, you have to whittle away at those bad habits until you’ve worn them down and replaced them with better ones. It’s a long-term commitment.

But if you’re making a bunch of ambitious goals, all set to apply starting January 1, you are kind of setting yourself up for failure. You’re not gradually wearing away at those bad habits — you are trying to go cold turkey, replacing them with entirely foreign behaviors.

It might work for a few days, a week, a month…

But eventually, you will have a stressful day, binge on McDonald’s on the way home, and spend the evening binge watching TV instead of hauling yourself to the gym. And once you’ve had one bad day, it doesn’t seem too terrible to have a second. And a third.

Instead of piling on the ambitions from the get-go, try your hand at the New You for the New Year Challenge, which challenges you to develop twelve good habits — over the course of the entire year.

At the beginning of every month of 2018, I am going to post a new monthly challenge. This way, it doesn’t sound as scary, you have a whole 30 days to make a positive change in your life. Sounds good to me! Right?

January’s goal: Save more money!

I don’t know about you, but December really tends to wipe out my wallet. Between holiday gifts for my friends and family, eating out while relatives are in town, and higher heating costs, things definitely get sort of tight after the holidays.

January is a great month to take a good hard look at your recurring expenses and see where you can get a little thriftier. What subscriptions are you paying for but not using? Many online services allow you to “pause” your account temporarily, giving you the chance to not pay when you’re not taking full advantage of it.

I try to make a point to call my cable company every so often to see if I can get a lower rate. Many internet service providers regularly run specials, and if you are unhappy with your service or the price you are paying, they might extend sales that are normally only for new customers to your account. It never hurts to ask.

Food is another huge expense for many people, myself included. You can majorly cut back on your spending if you pack your lunch instead of buying it. Make the transition a little easier on yourself by picking up a cute Bento box for transporting your food to work. And of course, cutting out that expensive latte goes a long way.

Love & Sparkle,

Mackenzie

The 2018 Business Resolutions I’m Making

I’m like the rest of the world: I suck at resolutions. This year, like every year, I’ve convinced myself that it’s going to go differently. But this year, unlike years past, I’m changing the what and the how..

Like you, I’ve read oodles of articles about goal-setting. “The more quantitative you can make your goals, the greater the chance you have of achieving them,” I read. Well, OK, I thought. I’ll make measurable goals, measurable resolutions, resolutions about how much I wanted to earn and how many hires I wanted to have by year’s end. It’s quantitative, I reasoned. It should totally work!

Except it never did, and when I failed to stick with my resolutions, it was depressing as all get out.

Sound familiar? Welcome to my New Year’s Eve Pity Party.

I figured out why my New Year’s resolutions always fail. This is my answer

I’m all about words, but I got “resolution” dead wrong. I equated New Year’s resolutions with end-of-year goals, and that’s not what they’re about. My dollar-based resolutions failed for the same reason “I want to lose 20 pounds” fails: They’re goals, not actions.

Resolutions need to be action-oriented. You should resolve to do something, not to achieve something. And the smaller your something is, the more likely you are to do it and to stick with it.

Resolutions also need to be reasonable. They need to suit the way you live. Or, in this instance, the way you do business.

This is another reason my “make $X by December 31” didn’t work out. It required me to squeeze my business and my customers into packages, and that’s not how I operate. Of course it didn’t work! I set myself up to fail from day 1—uh, literally.

How I’m changing the way I make my New Year’s resolutions

This year, I’m making a handful of resolutions that are really just positive changes I want to make in my business. They’re not dreamy. Instead, they’re conventional. They’re practical. And they’re small, which makes them both feasible and unintimidating.

I’m also changing the way I come up with them and when I implement them.

Last year (and the year before, and the year before that), I earmarked the week between Christmas and New Year’s as a week of learning, strategizing, and planning. I’d cram in books and blog posts and worksheets, and I’d come up with big ideas about what I wanted to accomplish in the following year. Then I’d craft resolutions based on those big ideas with the notion that I’d get to work on January 1.

Except I’d never get to work on January 1, and by the time I did get to work, I felt overwhelmed by these high-brow aspirations I’d had while I was riding high on Christmas chocolate and candy canes. I’d freeze up. I’d lose my focus. And just like that, my resolutions went out the window.

This year will be different. In fact, it already is. I made my brief list of resolutions before I sat down to write this post and I’ve already started to act on them. 2018 will be more about keeping up the good work than getting started on something new, and I think that will set me up for success.

(I’ll let you know what happens a year from now, of course!)

 

MY 2018 BUSINESS RESOLUTIONS

Ready to see which actions I’ll be taking forward into the New Year? Onward and upward, friends! Onward and upward.

Here are my 2018 business resolutions (and all of them are currently works-in-progress):

#1. Nurture my business relationships every day

I’m on Instagram every day. I’m on Facebook every day. Most days, though, I spend most of that time scrolling through pretty dresses and scowling at news articles. Now, I’m shoving that agenda back 20 minutes for the good of my business (and, let’s be honest, my brain).

Instead, I’ll be spending 10 minutes a day reading staffing blogs, listening to recruitment podcasts and learning as much as possible. I set a timer. I get it done. And I go back to fashion and news.

#2. Delight my clients (on auto-pilot. Shh!)

One of my favorite things to do is to surprise people with things I know they’ll love. It’s a huge part of why I look forward to the holidays: I love finding gifts for my family and friends.

This extends to my clients. It tickles me when they email me their thanks when I send them a “just because” card, or when they express their glee over a project proposal that goes over the top for them.

And you know what? This response costs me, at most, a few bucks, and it an excellent way to strengthen my relationships with the wonderful people I work with all year round.

What I’ve decided to do is to automate reminders for my surprises. Events like birthdays and business anniversaries are entered into my calendar, with a reminder set a week before so I have time to send out a little something digitally or IRL. Those dates are all entered now, and they’re ready to go from now through the end of time.

God bless Google Calendar, yo.

#3. Publish my daily accomplishments (or not) publicly to keep myself accountable and motivated

I’ve noticed that I always remain revved up and excited to work hard when I’m holding myself accountable in a public way. Earlier this year, I posted nightly “what I did” vs “what I wanted to do” updates to my leaders.

#4. Control what you can control. How many times have you heard this and rolled your eyes? Me too, me too. But this year, this is my mantra. Because it sounds so simple and so easy, but its true. In my line or work (staffing and recruiting) it is so easy to get ahead of myself and go 0-60mph at something that I literally have zero control over. I work in the people business, and people are uncontrollable and unpredictable. Just the name of the game.

What are some of your business resolutions?

Love & Sparkle,

Mackenzie

 

New Year’s Resolution ideas that could actually change your life

Pick one and make next year your best year yet. Some of these new year’s resolutions are really hard things to do. But I say do the hard things! They are they things that need doing the most. (Just so you know, coming up with new year’s resolution ideas and then not following though with them won’t change anything, so make a plan to make sure you can follow through.)

GET HEALTHIER

Seriously, we could all do with some more healthy – no? The older we get the more obvious it becomes that we can’t treat our bodies the same as we did when we were younger and expect to feel… well, human.

I know I don’t sleep enough, and my diet is terrible. I FEEL like my diet is terrible. This is big on my list of things to address this year.

  • drink more water
  • eat less sugar
  • drink less alcohol
  • address your gut health
  • start exercising
  • quit smoking
  • take your vitamins
  • cook your own meals / less processed food
  • get more sleep
  • eat more veggies
  • lose weight

MAKE YOUR HOUSE A HOME

If you can’t come in and sit down in a clean, relaxing space at the end of a long day at work – there’s something wrong.

It’s frustrating that the only person that can make this happen for me is me.

This is the year to DO that. Maybe you want to:

  • finally conquer the clutter
  • organize your closet / paperwork / trouble spot
  • make better use of your time
  • get the laundry under control
  • start meal planning
  • make use of a cleaning schedule
  • get a decent bed time routine going
  • get the fridge / pantry / bathroom cabinet under control
  • go chemical free

GET YOUR FINANCES IN ORDER

Sometimes it feels like I am doing ok in the saving department, but when I really step back and look at what I spend, I know I can do better. There are big holes all over my budget.

You too? Maybe this is the year to:

  • deal with your debt
  • start a savings account & save regularly
  • start investing
  • get life insurance
  • increase your income
  • break your shopping habit
  • learn to budget
  • save enough to take a holiday / buy a car
  • learn to use credit cards properly

LIVE ON PURPOSE

When we look back at life, there isn’t a whole lot that we spend our time on that will really matter.

This is a terrifying thought to me, and one that spurs me on to consider new year’s resolutions like these:

  • read your bible regularly
  • make time for friends
  • improve your relationships
  • make family time a priority
  • start a hobby that you enjoy
  • get happy in your skin
  • address your mental hang ups
  • break your worst habit
  • volunteer your time
  • learn a totally new skill
  • give up busy
  • make a new friend
  • get out of bad relationships
  • travel
  • become a published author
  • start a family
  • buy a home
  • become a better person
  • learn to prioritize
  • learn to be content

What are your best life changing new year’s resolution ideas? Have you made a life changing new year’s resolution this month? Tell me about it!

Love & Sparkle,

Mackenzie