How to Have a Beautiful Life in a Mad Dash Society

When you go out, look at the people around you. Everyone looks like they’re in a hurry to get somewhere? When you ask your friends out for a gathering, do you often get, “Sorry, I’ve got an appointment, or I have a meeting on that day”?  Is your response the same when they ask you?

Many people are chronically busy nowadays. They all have the desire to be successful as fast as possible. And to achieve that, they figure they have to compress five years of work into one, by moving five times faster! So they rush, sacrificing personal time and relationships, to get as much done as they can. But despite their earnest and wholehearted attempt to be successful, they often waste their effort because they lose their sense of direction – focusing on the trees, but failing to notice the forest – they end up running in circles.

If you don’t occasionally stop running and look up at the stars, how will you know which way is North? (Don’t tell me you have a compass.) In real terms, this means you have to set some time every day to stop and reflect.

· What do I value in life?

· What does success mean to me?

· Has what I’ve done today brought me closer to my life’s goal?

· How do I get from where I am, to where I want to be?

Yes, these questions require you to think deep; do some soul-searching. Everyone needs a Vision – that vivid mental image of what you’d like to Be, Do, and Have in life. Without it, we can’t see which way we’re headed. And the only way to develop it is to pause, reflect, think deep, and search your soul.

All a dying person wants is to be well again. All a homeless person wants is good food and a warm place to sleep at night. And all a grieving person wants, is to have spent more time with their loved ones. Don’t let this happen to you. Slow down, pause, and reflect.

Figure out what’s important to you in life. Then spend more time doing what’s important, rather than following the masses – being busy every day; chasing an imaginary shopping list of what it takes to be successful.

A Budget that Works for You.

Whether it is for your business or your personal life you should always follow a budget.  Even if you make significant amounts of money you should still have a budget.  But before you begin making a budget you need to have a set of goals.

Do you want to be debt free, live on one income, or save for retirement? Make this into your personal or family financial mission statement. Write it down or type it up nicely and then have it laminated and display it in a prominent place where you can see it often. Many times we just need a reminder to ourselves for why we are doing a particular thing, and that can be just enough incentive when things get tough.

Set small range goals so you can see progress. It can be very difficult to keep up the discipline necessary to stay on budget if you can’t see any measurable progress. Develop some short-term goals that you can celebrate meeting. If your goal has been to reduce your grocery spending by $100 per month, then your weekly goal would be to cut grocery costs by $25. Likewise, if your goal is to pay off debt, make a chart to show how much you’ve paid off. Reward charts just aren’t for children! Use a type of chart where you can color in a bar to show your progress, and then color it in every time you make a payment so you can see the progress you are making. Put it up on your refrigerator or bathroom mirror as a reminder that your hard work is paying off!

Next, Identify your weak spots and develop a plan to battle them. In sticking to your budget, you need a clear idea of where you may be tempted to break the budget. If you are prone to impulse spending, then you must remove that temptation from yourself. If you go window shopping, leave your credit cards at home! Especially in the early days of sticking to your budget, it is important to re-train yourself to curb spending.

A good way to prevent yourself from digging yourself further and further into debt is to form a personal budget that can work for you. Many people spend their hard earned money frivolously without having many regards to how much money they will have left before their next paycheck comes. They will often find themselves having no money left and ending up having to borrow from a lender just to pay essential bills or provide for their family. The problem with this type of spending is that you tend to incur debts that will begin to cause added problems with your finances that you become unable to pay off your debts when needed.

If you would like some help with your mindset surrounding money check out my 10 Minute Money Makeover!

 

Self-Care for the Holidays

Self-Care for the Holidays

If you are like me, you are in full swing of the holiday season with a full calendar of events, parties, shopping, and cooking, and I am sure a few others.    Are you already tired just thinking about it?  Today I share with you a few of my “go-to” self-care things that I actually put a lot of attention to so that I can be at my best during the season and to be able to fully enjoy all that is happening.

5 Key Self-Care Must Do’s

 

Get enough sleep 

Ok, I can already hear you laughing when you read that one!  But seriously, getting enough sleep is critical for keeping a strong immune system, keeping a clear head and also for the aesthetics!   Who wants dark circles and bags to go with the sparkly outfits?  I do realize that it is not always possible to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night at this time of year but give yourself at least 3 nights of the week when you get a full night in and don’t be afraid to take a very short nap in the afternoon.  I found this past week was exceptionally busy so tonight I have planned to go to bed early and get up early but making sure it amounts to at least 8 hours.  I recently bought a Fitbit (I was actually against them for a long time (another moment I eat of never say never) and interestingly enough I use it to monitor my sleep more than anything else!  Sad to say I was shocked but it has paved the way for me to correct the situation.

Eat healthy 

Food, food, food.  We all love food and especially at holiday time.  Having said that, in order to feel and look your best over the holidays and do all that you want, eating healthy is one of the critical ingredients.  Now I am not saying to not eat the yummy butter tarts or shortbreads or the wine.  Quite the contrary, just limit it.  One of the best ways is to start your day with a green smoothie and get in as many nutrients as early as you can and you won’t feel nearly as guilty eating the sweet stuff.  You want to savor every bit of those treats.  This past 2 years I have significantly cut down on my sugar consumption and this year I don’t even really like admitting this but I did not enjoy my treats nearly as much.  The butter tarts were way too sweet for me….which really helps keep it down to 1, not 1 dozen!  Overall, you should be aiming for about  90/10 or  80/20 – good, healthy foods to treats.

Drink water

For those that drink water on a regular basis, this may not be an issue.  For others, this can be a challenge.  This is especially true in the winter when we usually don’t drink water because of the lack of heat.   Like all health things, everybody is different and has different requirements, but overall, I would aim for 7-8 glasses of water a day.  This too I am recording on my Fitbit.  I have to admit that this is the one thing that I struggle with the most BUT also makes the biggest difference in my well-being when I consume sufficient water.  Add raspberries or lemon if you need to add a bit of flavor.

Set Boundaries

I have spoken about this in my recent previous emails and it comes up over an over.  This is a huge piece to keep you healthy emotionally over the holidays.  When you are emotionally healthy you will have a better chance of sleeping better, eating healthy (fewer sugar binges) and feel better overall.  With that being said, this can be really challenging at the holiday time.  There are many family traditions that you may be up against which can add more tension.  Taking baby steps to put in place boundaries, even if it is gradually over the years you will be better for it in the long run.  Always come from a place of love and compassion and you will get much further!

Set aside some time for just you each week

This is a non-negotiable for me!  Sunday morning for 1 hour is mine.  No interruptions, no questions, no “is breakfast ready?”  This is my time and I even keep it in place when we have visitors.  I teach my morning rituals in my classes and have recently published a book/journal to assist with this ritual. (will be launched soon!). Figure out what works best for you and make it happen.  This involves setting boundaries with others and yourself!  Once you do this for a while you will not want to go a week without it.  If you can do this daily, even better!

These are just 5 simple ways to be your best over the holidays.  Take action, you are worth it!

Wishing you a fun-filled, exciting and magical season.

Love & Abundance,

Maria

To help you with your Christmas planning, download my FREE 12 Ways to Save this Christmas budget planning sheet to help you get started on this!

 

The Flow of Abundance

The Flow of Abundance

One of my favorite books is Creating True Prosperity by Shakti Gawain in which she talks about understanding polarities.  In here she talks about the concept that we can not truly receive if we can not give and vice versa.   We often want, want, want but are not often prepared to give anything in return.

My daughter and I both bank at a local credit union here in Vancouver.  Last week we went in to deposit her piggybank (her long-term savings) and set up a spending account for her.  We had the most gracious young woman serve us and she was so patient answering all of my daughter’s questions.  She asked a lot of questions, including “what do you do with my money?”  Fair question!  The woman took us over to a little room with a beautiful mural on the wall that explained what they do with her money.  Being a very progressive credit union they invest the money back into the community via loans and various other initiatives. She explained the flow of money to her and how it needs to flow.

I have also taught her to donate a certain amount of her money to causes that are important to her.  Today she surprised me and added her own cash to the canned goods donation she made at her dance class today.  She has a real soft spot for homelessness and hunger.

Personally, I love giving and I seem to attract a lot of clients that love to give.  Yes, giving is a requirement for the flow of money but it does not have to be money, it can be your skills and time.  Everyone has something in them to give.  I recently saw a Facebook post about an elderly man in a hospital bed knitting hats for the homeless.  It can be as simple as going to volunteer at your local food bank, helping an elderly neighbor.  This in itself, is a long lost thing.  Helping our neighbors, that is.

Christmas time is a popular time of year for people to make financial donations but service is equally needed.  It is really important to align yourself with something that you really believe in and either do a financial or time gift.

On the extreme side of giving there are those that give too much.  Yes, too much.  I have seen so much of this that I put it in my webinar on 5 Financial Mistakes Women Make with their Money.  I have seen women give so much that they do not have enough for food for themselves.  Finding the balance is equally important.  Your wellbeing is just as important and you don’t want to end up in the place where you have nothing to give.   That serves nobody!

In my scenario of those that give all they have, these people actually have very little to begin with because they can not receive.  I have a friend that continually deflected anything coming to her and would complain she has nothing.  But she did not allow it to come to her and outright deflected it.  She would ask for something and someone would offer to give it to her but she would not accept it.  This was some of the biggest self-sabotaging behavior I have ever seen.  But it happens. There was lots of healing that needed to happen to her and that takes time.   Happy to report that she is progressing!

I also see people that are afraid to give as they feel there is not enough or they will give when they make a lot of money.  But I ask, how much is enough for you to have before you are willing to give.  This is very much a lack mentality and a mindset that will hold you back from true wealth and abundance.  You have to have faith that the Universe will continue to provide to you if you give.

The Universal Laws also come into play here.  If you want more love you need to give more love.  If you want to have more money you need to give more money.  It is quite simple.  You get what you give and this relates to all aspects of life.  Check in with your self to see where you give and if it is in alignment with what you want in life!

Plan for Peace

Plan for Peace

My question to you….”What do you want from this holiday season?”  I have been reading and following Danielle LaPorte lately and she would ask “How do you want to feel?”

Whatever it is that you want, the best way to get there is to plan for it to happen.

While I am super excited about this blog, I can not believe it is that time of year. Christmas time that is! Well, not exactly Christmas time but time to plan for it so you can enjoy it and also so you can come to January with no financial regrets!  As a Health, Wealth & Freedom coach my blogs will be covering all these areas over the next 2 months so you can truly enjoy the season.

 

Let’s start with basic planning!

 

What do you want from this holiday season? Peace, lots of presents, community, lots of good food, rest and relaxation (yes, this is possible!), or maybe new experiences. This year my daughter and I have planned some new experiences and are also returning to some old traditions. I am not sure if it is the planning for the holidays that I like more or the actual holidays themselves. I am such a planner! None the less, it makes the holiday season so much more fun and yes relaxing.

The holidays can be such a stressful time for many for various reasons. This often happens when there is conflict in families (whose home is everyone going to, expectations, etc).

Pause for a moment and think, is this the year to set some boundaries and maybe new expectations? Just putting it out there for a thought. I go back to my initial question. What do you want from this holiday season? Our current society is so materialistic and I would like to encourage you to possibly look to experiences this season rather than material possessions. Yes, having no gifts for the kiddies would not go over well and I am not suggesting this at all. I am suggesting that there be a mix of experiences and gifts as a place to begin to change their perspective.

I admit that I used to buy tons of gifts for my daughter, only to learn that what she really wants is time with me. This year we will be attending some concerts, plays and community events and of course will be opening some presents. Time together is the most important and never take your loved ones for granted.

 

Giving back for a new meaning of the holidays.

 

We also do a fair bit of giving over the holidays and this year will be no exception. Every year I sponsor a family through Presents for Peace at the YWCA and also do a few other community things as they arise. To show my gratitude I cook a brunch for my 16 staff in appreciation for all they do during the year. My success is because of them and I am grateful for each one of them. One of our other traditions we started a few years ago when we moved into our new condo unit was to make little present bags for each of our neighbors on our floor. These are filled with our favorite baking….and those who know me well, I love to bake. Stay tuned over the season for more good stuff on that! The neighbors love them and interestingly we have started something because they all reciprocate. It is so much fun dropping them off at their door….and to receive them too!  It was the bridge to building a closer community right where we live.

Now speaking of receiving. This is the perfect time of year to practice our receiving. Whether it is a compliment or a gift. Always be gracious and DO NOT deflect any compliments. This is a real challenge for many! How many times has someone said “you look fabulous today” and you respond with “my hair is not at it’s best today” or “you look great too”. Deflection at it’s finest!  This is not how the flow of abundance works in our universe! Simply say “thank you”! It is really that easy….and maybe smile too!

 

Let’s Talk Money!

 

Let’s talk about the budget now! OK, don’t run away and turn off the computer now! This is equally important so when you come to January you have no regrets! Be realistic as to what you can afford. Get creative. Don’t buy just for the sake of buying something. Put some time into a thoughtful gift and you will find that you do not have to spend nearly as much money if it has some real significance to that person. Again you may be asking yourself, why am I reading something about Christmas now, in November! Well, that is all about planning too. To get the best prices on things, pay the lowest shipping costs on things, you need to plan ahead. I am not asking you to put up your Christmas tree or anything like that….just simply grab a cup of tea and think about the holidays and do a bit of planning. Also, starting early helps spread the cost over a longer time so it is not such a big hit at once.

I read a recent article by Erica Alini in the Money section on Global News that stated that a reasonable gift budget is 1% of your gross annual income. Hmmm…not sure I totally agree with this methodology. She did go on to say that this was a starting point and you still needed to consider what you can actually afford. For the average Canadian family, this would be $700. PWC expects Canadians to spend over $1500 on average over the holiday season. We often forget the cost of wrapping paper, ribbons, all the extra food and travel costs.

Take some time to think what is important to you this season, how you want to feel throughout it and what you are going to do about it to make it what you want. It should be a time of joy, community, and love. Not anxiety, stress, and exhaustion. You choose! It is your life! Enjoy it!

To help you with your Christmas planning, download my FREE 12 Ways to Save this Christmas budget planning sheet to help you get started on this!

 

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