Motivation Thoughts

Motivating YOU to get things done!

Community Service Ideas for Volunteers of All Ages

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels



Volunteering is something nearly anyone can do, and in many cases, from anywhere in the world. But finding the right opportunity isn’t always easy, especially when there are so many wonderful organizations in need of volunteers.

To help families make a difference both locally and globally, Motivation Thoughts shares a few community service ideas in the sections below. Whether you’re looking to help online or in person, you’ll find everything you need within this short but helpful guide.

Look for Family-Friendly Volunteer Opportunities

There are so many things families can do to make their communities better places to live. Here are just a few volunteer opportunities for households to consider.


  • Help out a local organization like Habitat for Humanity, Furry Hugs Inc., the Brenner Children’s Hospital, or American Red Cross.
  • Reach out to your local church. Many churches need help sharing the gospel, helping refugees, and serving the community.
  • Food insecurity affects more than 40 million Americans, but your family can help to fight hunger by starting a community garden, donating to food banks, and organizing fundraisers for local hunger-relief groups.
  • Volunteer online to help local and global causes. StoriiTime, Adopt a Nursing Home, and Bookshare are just a few organizations in need of virtual volunteers.

Donate Items to Charity

Whether you have unwanted items to dispose of or you’re looking to put your artistic abilities to good use, your donations can help to support charitable organizations and their missions.

  • Have unwanted craft supplies, CDs, books, candles, greeting cards, and stationery? Donate them to sites like Reconsidered Goods.
  • Assemble and donate care packages to military members.
  • Schedule a free donation pickup to dispose of everything from furniture and clothing to mattresses and used vehicles.
  • Donate handmade goods to charitable organizations such as Days for Girls, Quilts of Valor, and Project Linus.

Launch Your Own Charitable Organization

Want to take your volunteerism several steps further? Launch your own nonprofit organization!

  • Learn how to start a 501(c)(3) charity. Several types of 501(c)(3) charities include religious organizations, animal rescues, museums, zoos, and private foundations.
  • Boost your business and leadership skills by enrolling in an online degree program.
  • Recruit the best volunteers to help you achieve your nonprofit’s mission.
  • Raising money for a global need? Whether you’re sending money to Nepal, India, Mexico or anywhere else, ensure the funds you raise are directly sent to support your cause by using remittance services that offer secure transfers.

While helping your community benefits those who live and work in the area, it also strengthens families, teaches kids responsibility, and increases happiness and self-confidence. Plus, there are many volunteer opportunities for families of all ages — even if you can only commit an hour or two each week. Each and every act of volunteerism makes a difference!



Setting Healthy Goals as a Family

motivation relaxation healthy


Photo courtesy of Pixabay

For many of us, eating well and exercising becomes a difficult challenge as our family grows. There is hope, however, as studies have shown some benefit to tackling health problems as a family. Busy family life does not have to end your perfect annual checkups. There are many ways to incorporate healthy choices for all of your ragtag crew; Motivation Thoughts shares a few here:

Eat at Home

As our families grow, healthy food often gets cut from our plans. When our daily nutrition includes a breakfast bar on the way out each morning, a processed microwave lunch, and fast-food dinner, it’s no wonder we feel like we’re running on empty! That adds up to more salt, fat, and simple carbohydrates we don’t need, and not enough of the nutrients we do. With a little planning, eating food at home can become second nature.

Try prepping a few meals over the weekend so you can simply heat them up when you get home. Soups, stews, salads and even casseroles can be prepared in advance with minimal time away from your weekend relaxation. There are lots of great sites, like Better Homes & Garden, that offer recipes and tips on feeding a family quickly.

Get a Dog

Yes, seriously, get a dog. Yes, they are a huge responsibility. Yes, they may eat your shoes. But studies show a direct correlation between physical activity and dog owners. In essence, if you have a dog, you have to get out and walk more. This leads to an increase in activity across the board.

Of course, there are many reasons you may not be able to get a dog of your own. For example, perhaps your apartment building doesn’t allow pets or perhaps someone in your household has an allergy. If that’s the case, seek out other ways to spend time with animals. Become a pet sitter — checking in on or staying with dogs whose owners are out of town. Volunteer at an animal shelter or offer to help out at a local vet’s office. The benefits of spending time with animals are truly great so find ways to take advantage of them if you can.

Exercise Together

In martial arts, they say “the family that kicks together, sticks together”. There are many activities, including martial arts, that offer family classes. Some gyms have Zumba or Yoga classes for families. Other families may enjoy outdoor adventures like rock climbing and whitewater rafting. Whatever you’re into, doing a healthy activity together not only makes it more fun, it makes your healthy habit more likely to stick, according to Science Daily.

What if one parent works 2nd shift, or another travels regularly? If scheduling time together is difficult, try coming up with a family challenge that everyone can add work toward in their own time. For example, you could set a goal for total miles logged running or on a bike, or hours meditating. Choose an app to help you track your team’s progress and encourage each other. Make the team challenge sweeter by agreeing a reward you’ll have when the challenge is met!

Be a Cheerleader

Let’s face it; your family members aren’t always going to be interested in the same thing, especially during the dreaded teenage years. That’s where you shift from being on the same team to being each other’s cheerleaders. Create a culture of enthusiasm and support for each other’s achievements.

When your kids are small, come to practices and put the phone down. Show up to the game and scream your heart out (with positive encouragement of course). Tell them you’re proud of them, even when they flub that last pass. Don’t stop with making it all about rooting for the kids. Moms and Dads need encouragement, too: whether Mom wants to try the Ironman race, or Dad hopes his softball team makes it to the city championship. This can apply to your meals as well. Take turns choosing recipes and cooking meals. When someone says “let’s just get takeout,” the rest of the team can pitch in to put the broccoli and chicken in the oven, so the family keeps working toward their healthy goal. By creating a culture where each family member is valued, you all get a turn to be cheered when you soar and picked up when you fall. What could be better?

This concept can be about bigger-picture items as well, like Mom or Dad going back to school to continue their education. Going for that elusive advanced degree shows the rest of the family resilience and determination when it comes to self-improvement and confidence building. This endeavor doesn’t have to drown you in debt or take up all your time — in fact, taking coursework online makes it easier, more convenient, and more affordable than ever. Going for an online master’s degree from University of Phoenix, for example, opens the door to more than 26 programs offered 8-10 times throughout the year, and tuition is locked in so there’s no increase in expenses as you complete your studies.

Keep Your Community Safe

Play an active role in your community. Make sure children in your area have safe places to gather and play. Get to know other families in your neighborhood and work together to clean and maintain local parks. Teach your children about the dangers associated with drugs and alcohol, and help them develop the skills to withstand peer pressure. Work with other parents and your children’s teachers to take power away from bullies. Always keep the lines of communication open so that you’re aware of your children’s concerns.

Staying healthy as a family is a goal best attempted together. It will enrich the fiber of your bond and memories. As with any team, the more you work together, the more you’ll succeed!

New Year New and Improved You

Weird Years

New Year 2022

New Year New You

Let’s face it, 2020 and 2021 have been really weird years for all of us. But, the holidays are near, and that means a time of re-envisioned enthusiasm for ourselves and the world. But, we have hurdles to get through, including starting a new year full of uncertainty after the distraction of the holiday season. Here are six ways to put yourself in a position to take 2022 by the reins so that you are in control of your mind and body.


Physical fitness is paramount to your self-confidence and self-esteem. But, if you’ve never worked out before, you may feel more intimidated than enthusiastic. Start small, and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. In a recent post, Motivation Thoughts notes that exercising with a friend was a great way to keep yourself going.

Change Careers

If you can’t see yourself punching the time clock in the same place for another year, it’s time for a change. Even more intimidating than exercise is the prospect of quitting your job or starting a business, especially as an established adult with a mortgage and family to care for. But, there are plenty of opportunities out there, especially if you already have something you’re passionate about, such as painting, childcare, or consulting. ZenBusiness offers advice for those over 50 that are looking to change jobs, including making sure that you have an exit plan and getting closely acquainted with today’s technology.

Prioritize Positivity

Mindset is important in everything you do. Not only does thinking positively help you turn your dreams into reality, but it also perpetuates growth and largely influences your entire life. Motivation Thoughts has discussed this topic before and even explains that negative thinking can trigger mental health disorders, such as anxiety and depression. Avoid negative influences and situations, and learn how to look on the proverbial bright side, even when things seem dark.

Take a Vacation

Even though you likely had at least a week off through the holidays, it’s time to start planning your next vacation. November and December are busy, with family and friends coming in from out of town, Christmas presents to buy, and parties to attend. There is very little time to relax. But, according to Travel + Leisure, going on vacation may be just what the doctor ordered. Time away from work increases mindfulness, reduces stress, and can even put you in a good mood for weeks after your return.

Find New Friends

The people we surround ourselves with throughout the entire year influence how we feel about ourselves. Open yourself up to new possibilities by finding new people to bring into your life. Even though you may be slightly outside of your comfort zone, new friends provide an opportunity for a fresh start that will bring joy to your life, especially if you’re in the 50+ crowd.

Diversify Your Plate

Are you tired of feeling bloated, having less-than-perfect skin and hair, or want to slow down the hands of time? Change your diet. Eating the right combination of foods, including fruits and vegetables, will be a welcome change for your body from the sweets and treats of the holiday season. Talk to your doctor or find a nutritionist that can help you formulate a plan that works for you, your dietary needs, and your activity level.

Everything we do each day affects our confidence and our happiness. And, although you’re likely still elated from the magic of the holiday season, you have another 10 months before you get to do it all over again. In the meantime, make 2022 the year you shine by giving yourself the gift of taking care of your needs.

flex your muscles for yourself

Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels

Image via Pexels

Have Fun and Learn a Healthy Skill with Your Friends than watching another episode of a show or going to the same restaurant and ordering the same appetizers and drinks you always get, maybe it’s time for you and your friends to try something completely different. As many people continue to return to some pre-pandemic habits, now is the perfect time to break out of old ruts and try something new. Improving your health, a nutritious diet, and picking up a new healthy habit are all great places to start.

Healthy habits and skills are always a wise investment of time, and they can offer long-term benefits. Motivation Thoughts presents the following tips for improving your health and positive outlook simply by learning a new skill.

Learn a Sport or Healthy Hobby

Often we think about learning a new sport as something that happens in childhood, but you can learn a new physical activity at any point in your life. You can try your hand at volleyball, ultimate frisbee, paddle boarding, or even pickleball. Imagine you and your friends starting a mini-baseball game or having a rousing tetherball tournament in your backyard, complete with trash-talk and a scoreboard.

If you are more interested in individual sporting pursuits, it may be fun to try a new type of workout that you can access online, such as kickboxing or Pilates. You may find that trying a dance routine energizes you, and learning new moves will give you more confidence when you go dancing. When it comes to increasing your fitness and getting healthy, there is no wrong way to do it. Getting active will help improve your physical and emotional health.

Less vigorous healthy hobbies you could try are meditation, yoga, or stretching routines to improve circulation and blood flow in your body. Even learning new breathing techniques can help improve your health and expand your lung capacity. You can learn new skills online or take a class at your local yoga center. There is no end to the types of classes you can take, whether you opt to do it on your own or with friends.

Take a Class for Fun or Higher Learning

If you have thought about taking a class, either in-person or online, there is no time like the present to put that idea into action. Taking classes can be fun and enriching, whether you are signing up for an art class, taking taekwondo, or planning to enroll in a field of study, like cyber security.

Or you may decide that it’s time to fulfill that dream and go for a master’s degree in information technology or library science. Online learning that can be done at your own pace makes college even easier to consider since you’ll be able to maintain your current responsibilities while working to advance your career.

When we push ourselves to learn new skills and healthy habits, we can improve our minds while having fun. If taking a class feels out of reach right now, think about some independent learning or try out a few workshops.

Staying Committed to Lifelong Learning and Fun

Breaking out of old, inactive ruts can take time. Set a goal with friends to improve your health and learn new skills together. Whether you take a course online, take a swing dancing class, or study how to write code, learning offers a variety of rewards. Strive to make learning a goal throughout your life.

Commitment to health and wellness is also an important aspiration. Learn new ways to exercise, cook healthy meals, advance your career through a new degree, learn how to paint or sculpt, or commit to daily meditation. Whatever your choice, you can rest assured your mind, body and soul will benefit.

This is a guest post by Emma Grace Brown



Housework Fun?


Houseworks (Photo credit: the Italian voice)

Housework or room work, depending on whether you have you own home or just use one room is often considered a necessary (or unnecessary) evil, designed to keep you from having fun! Funnily enough, if you do it bit-by-bit, it can actually HELP you have fun, improve your creativity (who knew?) and improve your health, both by reducing stress levels and by helping you keep fit through moving.

Getting Out in the Morning

Finding it difficult to just get up and get out each day? You just need to remember 4 things:

  • Get up
  • Get dressed
  • Get fed
  • Get out (or get on)

Getting up, is basically that – get yourself up out of bed. Yes, I know it might be cold or raining, or not the kind of weather you like, or you may be tired. Napoleon Hill had a good tip for getting out of bed when you have acquired the habit of hitting the “snooze” button over and over.  He set his alarm clock and when it went off, he said to himself, “I’m getting up NOW!” For the first number of times, he used the word “Now” ONLY when he was getting out of bed right then. Eventually he ingrained the habit of getting up on the word “NOW” so well that as soon as said it to himself, it worked – he got up straight away. I tried that tip many, many, years ago and got it to work for me very well. If you have difficulty getting up in the mornings – persevere with this tip and you will be able to get up easily too. Another site that you might like to check out is

Get dressed, again, is simply – get your clothes on (and get washed). If you find yourself racing round every morning looking for something to wear, then start the previous evening, by setting out the next day’s clothes or hanging them all together in your wardrobe. Why do it the night before? Well, at least you will know then whether you have something suitable to wear and it gives you time to prepare something, if not. This alone can reduce stress! When I was in work (I’m now retired) I used to set my work suits out in order in my wardrobe on a Sunday evening. I had 5 outfits for work and I varied them with different tops. Each evening, when I came home, I took off my work clothes and put on my freedom clothes. The work clothes were hung up straight away in the wardrobe but at the other end, so they didn’t get worn again the next day. I just lifted underwear out of my underwear drawer and set it on top of the dresser, then I didn’t have to search for anything the next day – it was all there.

Shoe polish with a shoe brush.

Shoe polish with a shoe brush. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

TIP, keep a shoe polish sponge, one of the “instant” ones, where you take your “work” shoes off and use it on them straight away., before setting them down for the night. Your shoes will always be ready and the polish works better on a warm shoe. (Let them dry first, though if they have been out in the rain or mud.)

Get fed – this is important. Get some decent fuel into your body to get it started out right for the day ahead. Scrambled or poached or boiled eggs are quick and easy. Whole grain cereal or wholemeal bread are also good choices. If you know you never have time to eat in the morning, then why not prepare something you can take with you? A banana or hard boiled eggs are easy, useful options to grab and go.

Boiled eggs

Boiled eggs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Get out – well, you’re ready, so get going! If you have to take a bag or papers or a computer with you – set them out the previous evening and put them in a spot near where you will pass on your way out the door. You may need some other things with you too, keys, glasses, wallet – those are the main things. Check them the previous evening and have them all in one place ready to go. Get on – that’s for people who work at home and don’t need to go out to get to work. You’re ready to get started, so get stuck straight in, whatever it is you need to do, housework, study, child minding, your home-office work – the sooner you get stuck in, the sooner you will be done, ready for fun!


5 reasons why Granny SHOULD nurse the baby

As it’s most likely you are the granny, helping your offspring out I will use PD to stand for Precious Daughter / Daughter-in-law and PG to stand for Precious Grandchild. But if you are not the granny, don’t let that stand in the way of being able to help a new mother!

Nursing the baby to sleep
Nursing the baby to sleep

1. If PD is nursing PG herself, PG will associate the smell of PD with being fed and may want to nurse almost continuously. This can be exhausting or maybe even painful for PD.  Holding the baby while PD has a chance to get dressed, have a bath or move around the house will help her to recover better and will encourage PG to go to sleep for a while.

2. PD may be a little unsure with a new baby, especially if PG is her first child. She may be happy to have some uncritical help with bathing or changing the baby. A spare pair of hands seldom comes amiss, provided you support PD in what she is doing and don’t criticise. Things may have changed since you last held a baby, so help PD follow what the midwife or health visitor has suggested, if she wants, rather than criticising “new-fangled ideas”!

3. PD will need to keep drinking fluids, including water and maybe warm drinks. It may be helpful to hold the baby if PD is getting herself a hot drink, so she can drink it while it’s hot without risking the baby getting hurt.

4. PD may need to get more rest and PG may need to be held. Letting PD get some sleep or a bit of time away from PG if necessary can save her sanity and help her return to full health that much quicker. Daddies or partners can be very helpful here in holding their own precious child while mum gets rest.

5. PG may be a bit colicky and need held upright to help get wind up. PD may be glad to take turns at burping PG, especially if it has been a “bad night”! This also relates to tip number 1. PG may be trying to feed continuously from PD, without giving themselves a chance for a rest between feeds. Being held by someone else can encourage PG to take a rest from feeding, maybe get some sleep and help that colic settle down.

10 Tips for when Granny should NOT nurse the Baby

These top tips will help you to help the new parent(s) and you can also use them if you are helping out a neighbour or a friend or are even doing voluntary work helping new single parents. It’s most likely that you are a Granny helping your precious daughter or daughter in law with your new grandchild, so I am going to refer to the new parent as PD (precious daughter / daughter in law) and the new baby as PG (precious grandchild).

baby yawning
baby yawning
  1. No matter the state of the house, do not criticise anything. You are there to help, not point out mistakes or shortcomings. Keep your lips buttoned, unless you are praising something.
  2. You are there to support PD. You are NOT there to look after PG. Unless your health or your disability totally prevents you from physically helping with the housework or PD is ill – let PD look after the baby. They need to bond and right now is the best time. Nursing PG in order to let PD “get on with the housework” is SELFISH. PD needs rest, to feed and change the baby and to bond with PG. You will have plenty of time in the future to get to know your new grandchild and you may be needed to nurse the baby for a short while anyway, while PD uses the loo or gets dressed.
  3. When you first go into the house, check whether PD needs water or a cup of tea or coffee and something to eat. The first priority is to make sure PD is healthy and nourished.
  4. The next most important task is to check whether something is available for the day’s main meal. It may need to come out of the freezer or it may need to be made. It may even need a phone call or a trip to the shop to get food in.
  5. You can vacuum if you are short of something to do!The next most important task is the laundry. There is always laundry! Get a wash started in the machine. If you are there long enough, you may be able to get it into the dryer or out on the line or hung on airers before you leave. If you hang it out on the line, you will need to bring it in BEFORE you leave that day, because PD will either forget or not have time. If there is dry laundry hanging around, fold it and put it away. It is best not to take laundry to your own house, unless it is an emergency.
  6. Now you can get any dishes done, either in the sink or load the dishwasher. You may need to put dishes away or empty the dishwasher before you can wash more.
  7. Check whether the bed has been made and if not, make it.
  8. Check whether the bathroom needs cleaned. The main things are the sink and toilet and checking that there is enough loo roll / toilet paper.
  9. Empty any waste bins / trash cans.
  10. If you have any time and energy left, vacuum the stairs and landing and living room, or for the kitchen or hard floors, sweep and mop. You don’t have to do all of this every time you go. If this type of work is exhausting for you, or you have limited time, choose one area for each visit and do that. Choose a different area the next visit.
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Your old kitchen looking new!

renewing your kitchen

getting your kitchen to look like new

Are you ashamed of a mucky, messy, filthy kitchen, maybe even looking like a hazardous area? It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to spend money and time on ripping it all out and starting again. After all, if you keep to the same habits, it won’t be long before your new kitchen will look just like the old one. Add a few small new habits on a regular basis to your day and you might find your old kitchen looks like new.

If you have a dishwasher – empty any clean dishes out of it and put them away. This should take no longer than 5 minutes. Now, if there are any dirty dishes lying around, stack them in the dishwasher and start it going. Again, this should take no longer than 5 minutes. Just by itself, putting away the clean dishes and stacking dirty ones in the dishwasher will help make your kitchen look cleaner and tidier. And it will do a lot for the hygiene too.

get the dishes done

Water dripping in the sink

If you don’t have a dishwasher, then wash your dirty dishes and RINSE them under the cold tap and leave them to dry for a few minutes. By rinsing them, it removes any suds left on them and therefore any grease that was in the suds and so it cuts out having to use a towel to dry them. While they are drying, run a fresh bowl of hot sudsy water and put the next lot of dishes in to soak. If you still have more dirty dishes, stack them neatly beside the sink. Put away the clean dishes, then wash the next lot and rinse those and leave to dry. Keep moving those clean dishes into the cupboards, putting the next lot of dirty dishes in to soak and stacking the next lot of dirty dishes beside the sink. This clears your table and working surfaces quickly and helps make the kitchen look cleaner and tidier. Depending on how many dishes are lying around, it might take 15 – 30 minutes to do this the first time but if you make this a regular habit, the dishes will get clean and tidied away in a very short time.


Once your table is clear of dirty dishes, see if you can clear it of anything else. Can you put condiments (salt, pepper, etc) away? Is there any milk left out, or anything else that needs to go back in your fridge? Have you table mats out that could be wiped and stacked? Are there any old magazines or newspapers that could be dumped or recycled?

Once the dirty dishes are off your counters, give your counters a wipe to remove any crumbs.


Once all your dishes are washed and either put away or draining after being rinsed, wipe out your sink. You may want to clean it a couple of times a week, but clear and rinsed is a great start. If any food particles have got stuck in the outlet, clear those. It only takes a few seconds and it helps the water drain away faster.

Put your dish towels tea towels, etc in the wash and put out fresh ones.

A clean kitchen can be easy to achieve with a few quick regular habits that become like second nature once you have practised them for a few days. Look at your kitchen with fresh eyes. It may not be a new kitchen you need but a few new small habits that will make your kitchen look like new and keep your family healthy.

Cleaning the Bathroom

Would you let your next door neighbour in your bathroom? Would you panic if you had to call in the plumber? If you would like a clean fresh bathroom in only 5 minutes a day, then work out a routine for doing a different small area each day. There are some parts that need done EVERY day – the wash hand basin and the toilet. The bath or shower should be done after you use it. A quick spray with a bathroom cleaner and rinse down takes only a minute and leaves these fresh and clean. The rest of the bathroom can be divided up to do a small part each day, maybe under the sink one day, one set of tiles another day. The whole routine should take less than 5 minutes each day.


Would you love to do some exercise

but feel selfish trying to find the time?

no time for anything?

Well, just like the airline safety videos say in the oxygen mask video, Help yourself first.

The reason they say that is because you can’t help anyone else (child, spouse, parent, friend, etc) if you collapse from lack of oxygen. Exercise is exactly the same, you need to put yourself first for a while to get the time for exercise. And if you find it difficult to get the time for exercise because of all the other things you have to do, then think about how those others will manage, or not manage if you become ill from lack of exercise!

Get a Routine

You NEED to put your exercise needs into your regular routine. If you have a

Use your calendar - ANY calendar to block out time

Use your calendar – ANY calendar to block out time

calendar, block out a small amount of time each day or a larger amount of time 3 days a week for your exercise. Current recommendations are for 30 minutes exercise each day but it doesn’t all have to be done at once. Can you spare 10 minutes, three times a day? That adds up to your 30 minutes a day. If you are just starting out on exercise and cannot afford 30 minutes a day, then start off with just 10 minutes a day. After all, even 10 minutes is better than none at all, especially when done regularly. Exercise doesn’t necessarily mean going to the gym, or for a 10 mile hike. Exercise is just moving your body or putting a little more effort into it. There are some really easy peasy ways to add extra exercise into your daily routine.

Try these

Planning a family picnic at the local park? Take along a Frisbee, the bicycles and or a soccer ball. You can also play a game of tag or kickball in an open field. Fun activities are a great way to burn calories while spending time together and many times, they don’t cost a thing.

Try to cut down the amount you rest during your time in the gym. Many people have limited time, and you should try and rest less during the beginning of your workout when your muscles are less tired, and at the end you can rest more when they are fatigued.

Exercise at least once a day. Exercising decreases body fat and tones and strengthens muscles, therefore causing weight loss. Start off by doing strenuous exercise for about five minutes, then each day after, add a little more time, working your way up to 30 minutes. Once you are able to exercise for 30 minutes, try exercising for a longer period of time or more strenuously.

Start small. You may know that you need to set aside a good bit of time for exercise but feel you just can’t manage it. If so, start small. Build in 10 minutes of planned exercise a day. Work at it regularly to develop the habit, then add to that, a little at a time. Also, build exercise into your ordinary daily life, by making yourself walk a little further or do a bit more exercise to get where you want to go. It ALL adds up.

Getting Started on Fitness

exercise can be fun

Dog enjoying fun as exercise


Getting started on exercise can be hard. “I don’t know how”, “I don’t have time”, “I can’t afford it”. None of these excuses is true. That’s all they are – excuses! We all know we need to get a certain amount of exercise. That’s a no-brainer. It screams at us from web sites, posters and magazine articles. And we know we “ought” to do it. After all, our families need us and they need us to be healthy.

Attacking the Excuses

Getting exercise

Walking on the beach

Think how much more pleasant life is when you’re fit and can do things for yourself, instead of being dependent on others unnecessarily.Let’s attack the “I don’t know how” first. If you can walk, you already know how you can get fit – walk more. Walking is a great exercise and also low impact. What about the “I don’t have time”. Can you find 10 minutes to surf the net, watch TV or read the back of a sauce bottle? That 10 minutes can be used to help you get fit. The latest recommendations are for 30 minutes exercise a day – that’s just 3 sessions of 10 minutes. If you can’t fit in 3 sessions, start off with just one 10 minute session. Every little helps. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. And finally, “I can’t afford it”. Want to do some weights? Use a can of food in each hand. You can do bicep curls and shoulder presses with those. Even boxers do some exercises without any equipment at all – and look at how fit they are. Here are some other suggestions to knock those “don’t know how”, “no time”, and “can’t afford it” excuses on the head.

Easy exercises


If your home or office has stairs, use them, or use them more often. Give yourself a

Exercise classes can help

Taking an exercise class

reward every time you climb the stairs. It can be a tick on a chart, with a penny for each tick at the end of the week. Use the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator when travelling. Use the upstairs bathroom instead of the ground floor cloakroom when you “need to go”. Just climbing the stairs a few extra times a day will help improve your fitness very quickly.

Park Further Away

When driving, park your car further away from where you’re going. At the mall or supermarket you usually get a trolley to cart your goods, so it isn’t as if you have to carry really heavy stuff. Park further away from your office and walk in. In many towns, the outer car parks are cheaper than ones in the centre of town. You could save money too.

Move a bit More

If your job is office based, try and make sure you get up and down more often. Talk to colleagues instead of sending emails. Go fetch your paper and office needs instead of getting someone else to fetch them. Walk to the bathroom more often.

Starting out on fitness improvement is not difficult – it just takes the decision to get started. Don’t worry that you’re not doing as much as someone else, just get started and build it up gradually.

Developing your own Fitness Routine

Starting out to get fit can seem a bit daunting at first. There are lots of things to think about, and so many ways to do them. Try these tips.

  • Write down your fitness goals, eg, run half a mile, climb the stairs without panting, cycle one mile, walk to the shops;
  • Think about which different ways you could use to reach them, such as walking, swimming, going to the gym, cycling, getting an exercise video;
  • Write down when you will be able to work out, eg 5 days a week, 3 days a week, every morning / evening;
  • Once you have a week’s or  month’s worth of activities you would like, diarise them in your calendar and stick to them;
  • Update your goals by crossing off what you have done. It really helps to see just how far you have come;
  • Get a buddy to work out with you and cheer you on – you will do the same for them. Having support can really help in the beginning, especially when you feel like giving up.
Physical Fitness

Physical Fitness (Photo credit: Justin Liew)

Why Motivation?

Always in Trouble!

I have been interested in motivation all of my life, right from the time I was in primary (elementary) school. Why? Because I was always in trouble for not getting my work done,  or for daydreaming and not listening or for not being able to do the lesson because I had not been listening. I also felt guilty for procrastinating about chores or homework. I kept getting reminded to get things done but never got started on them. Probably the “reminding” was what kept me from getting started because the reminder usually came about the time I was going to start anyway and that rebellious streak hated to be told what to do.

I Preferred To …

… read a book
… play outside
… watch TV
even though my pleasure in those was spoiled because I knew the work would still need to be done later.

Over The Years ….

I have learned:

(1) Most jobs took much less time to do than I imagined and I spent more time moaning and feeling guilty than it would have taken to just do it. Nowadays, I tell myself to stop whining and just do it.

(2) You don’t actually have to “feel” motivated to do the job, you can do it without feeling motivated. That includes getting the dishes done, vacuuming the floor and leaving out the trash. I am never motivated to do them but I bribe myself using motivation charts. I get a tick for each job completed and the ticks add up to a small cash payout. I feel very happy when I have “earned” a big amount in my rewards jar.

Three Ways In Which Meditation Can Improve Your Performance

Is Your Life becoming More Frantic?

The world seems to be more competitive with every sun that sets. It has become harder to succeed financially and in other spheres of life without putting in more and more effort in whatever you do. But there is a limit! Everyone will break down at some point if there is too much pressure and many people are looking to techniques like meditation that help relieve stress and improve focus, so that they can notch up their performance. Below are three ways in which meditation can help you achieve a better quality of life while improving your performance at work.


The basic fundamentals of meditation entail achieving a state of self-awareness and peace of mind. You are taught by starting not to think of anything but just concentrate on the rhythm of your breath. Consequently, you will learn how to focus all your energies on a task at hand. Some gurus even assert that it is possible to meditate while working and there are such meditations as a walking meditation. If you can focus your thought to a single task at a time, you will achieve better results, complete tasks in less time and live a happier life noting that it is unlikely to be stricken by stress when your mind is focused on a task.

Increase your creativity

It appears that people who meditate are more creative than those who are yet to discover this free recipe for success. If you take some time alone and allow your being to achieve a state of relaxation, the mind will automatically begin working more efficiently. The right side of the brain which is responsible for generating new ideas will especially benefit more from meditation. Whether you are sports person, an innovative genius or an entrepreneur, you can be sure of being awed by how far your capabilities extend when you begin meditating.

Rejuvenate your energies

Meditation is an effective technique which has been used for many years by people who needed to rejuvenate their energies. Some people’s performances deteriorate because they have depleted their energies and now experience low motivation after having remained devoted to their work for so long. Before you begin conditioning your mind to believe that the only way through which you can escape your exhaustion is by taking a vacation, start dedicating some of your free time to meditation and see how relieved you will feel after every session.

Not As Easy As It May Sound

Lastly, note that meditation is not as easy it sounds. Most people will need guidance before they can start meditating on their own.

Five Ways To Improve Your Focus

Listen to Music

One way of improving your focus is by constantly listening to music. This means really listening and getting to learn and understand the words in the music. This helps to clear your mind by making you focus on only one thing and so helps calm your mind and freshen it by removing those blocks that limit your concentration and focus.


Meditation helps with improving focus and concentration. Some people spend at least one hour a day meditating but starting out with even 10 or 15 minutes can be very beneficial. One way of improving your meditation is through focusing on your breathing. By focusing on the air you breath, the way it touches your nostrils and how it enters your throat and leaves helps in calming your system. This can provide a sense of peace and contentment and helps in improving your focus.

Set Small Achievable Realistic Goals

Setting huge, unrealistic goals can be very frustrating and can mean losing focus. One way of improving focus is to set goals which are smart (simple, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound). This helps in reducing pressure and a lot of the frustrations that build when goals seem to be forever out of reach. Stress and pressure can make you lose concentration. It is better to set goals which can be achieved in maybe a week or a month and which will ultimately lead to your long term goals.


Studies have shown that regular exercise can calm the  mind and improve focus. Exercises such as swimming, going to the gym dancing, gardening, etc help you lay off mental burdens and pressures. Exercise also relaxes the mind and improves concentration and focus. Also one can improve focus by frequently exercising the mind by for example filling crossword puzzles, engaging in social quizzes or puzzling out sudoku games etc this helps in making sure your mind is not idle.

Wear light clothes when you can

Wearing light and loose clothes also helps improve your focus. This is because there is sufficient ventilation in your body and free air can easily flow in and out. This helps in keeping your mind fresh and constantly in focus.

Powerful Secrets For Becoming More Positive

Pessimists and Negative Thinking

Are you are negative thinker? Do you always feel the worst is going to happen? Do you always think the worst of every situation and that if something goes wrong it is always your fault?

Constant negative thinking can lead to depression and anxiety. It can also lead to sleeplessness if you constantly replay negative scenarios over in your head.

We all have positive and negative thoughts and being a pessimist can have some benefits, because that negative side of you can work out possible problems in any project with which you are involved and take steps to overcome them. Being a constant ray of sunshine can also be irritating to some others. But constant negativity is extremely draining and tiring, as you will always consider yourself a failure, no matter how well you do.

Both positive and negative thoughts can be creative and lead to progress and improvements, and our experiences and environment result from our predominant thoughts.

We do not see things as they are. We see things as we are.” (Anais Nin)

That is, if you see everything through negative glasses, then the world will always seem harsh and cruel to you, whereas if you view it through positive glasses, then it will appear fair and welcoming.

Learning Experience

Negative occurrences can be used as learning experiences. What happens to you is not always someone else’s fault (though of course it can be) so learn to take responsibility for your own thoughts and actions and stop blaming other people for what you are going through. The following tips will help you to be more positive.

Avoid Negative Influences

Much like dieters need to stay out of the kitchen, you should stay away from anybody who is likely to influence you negatively. Be it a close friend or a family member, stay away from them. Take your time and choose your friends wisely because they will have a serious impact on your behavior. Sometimes, a particular person can be so toxic to your well-being that you have to seriously consider whether you should cut them out of your life entirely. This can be an extremely difficult decision but may be necessary in some cases for your own health. Furthermore, do what you are comfortable with. If you feel bad, concerned or guilty because of doing something, you better not do it.

Replace negative thoughts with positive ones

Try to view every situation from a brighter side. If you do this long enough, it will become your habit and this will eventually improve your positive thinking. Everything can be framed positively. Instead of saying a half glass of water is half empty, view it as half full. Even when you fail to achieve what you wanted, at least you have gained certain experiences that will make you better. Every situation has both negative and positive aspects. So, it is up to you to choose where to focus your thoughts.


A positive attitude goes hand in hand with happiness. Even when things are not going as planned, at least smile to lift your mood. Do not worry so much til you cannot afford a simple smile. Share your positive experience with others and this will boost your moods. Making yourself smile can actually help to improve your mood, in some way, the effect of moving those facial muscles into a smile boosts your emotional mood to become more positive.

Surround yourself with positive activities

Your daily activities also determine how positive you can be. All activities you get involved in each day should occupy your day in a very positive way. For instance, your entertainment should be positive. Do only those things you love doing. If it is watching movies, listening to music or engaging in sports activities, do it with passion, and this will boost positive thinking.

Admit that there are problems.

You will be surprised that some people do not even identify and admit that there are problems affecting them, in fact, they will often deny there is a problem and stay firmly tucked in their comfort zone. By identifying your problem, you will find possible solutions and this will help you become positive.

Ask for feedback.

Try to know what you are by asking your close friends or family members. You can as well involve experts to assess your behavior and give you feedback. Feedback will give you various perspectives from which you can decide on an appropriate course of action.

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