I often struggle with how to get through the long, cold winter. If you do too, or are dealing with other difficulties that can make you sad and miserable, try this exercise that I find helps.
For a period of no more than 10 seconds, do something that makes you happy. It can be looking at something beautiful, enjoying a piece of music or a piece of food, or saying something good to someone you love. Choose the best thing you can think of. In that 10 seconds, don’t think of anything else, just that. Think about it before you do it, think about it while you are doing it, then think about it after you have done it. That’s it. That’s the exercise.
Now, maybe you think 10 seconds is too short and a minute or more is something you can focus on. Great! Do that then. Or you so enjoyed that 10 seconds of admiring the snow, or sipping you tea or juice, that you are going to move on and try the exercise with something else. Also great. Whatever you do, try the exercise and then try to do it repeatedly through the day, week.
Happiness is hard to define, and still harder to quantify. But I think that each of us, in our own way, can build up the part of ourselves capable of being happy and work it and make it stronger. The heart literally gets stronger through exercise. The heart figuratively can stronger through exercise, too. At least I think so. Try this exercise and tell me what you think.
The best, easiest, and most effective New Year’s resolution to make (perfect for procrastinators, too) is this: I resolve to make a new resolution every week (or month, or quarter or season, or….you get the idea).
It sounds like a lame suggestion, but think about it for a minute. By making this resolution, you have already made a resolution. Good for you! One down. That out of the way, you can decide what is a schedule you are most likely to stick to. Once a week? Possible, but tough. Monthly? More likely. I personally like quarterly or seasonally. The idea of having a new resolution every season is a great way to kick off a season. In spring you can resolve to plant new / more plants. In summer you can resolve to go to the beach more, or go on that trip you always wanted, or spend more time in the park reading or exercising. In fall you can resolve to get out and take in more culture. And in winter you can resolve to get in shape for next spring and fall.
Whatever you do, keep a list. You will be surprised at the end of the year how many resolutions that you made and kept.
The other good thing about this approach is that you keep up the resolutions, rather than making a bunch in January, only to have them die off.
Come January 1, alot of people will resolve to lose their excess weight and get fit. And what is good for people is also good for …Macs! In this article, Ten ways to turn your Mac into a lean, mean, agile machine…right now (or Jan. 1 ), you can learn various ways to slim down your Mac while you wait for Mac OS X v 10.6.
If you want to make a lot of people feel better, here’s a very easy way to do it. All you need is a nearby marathon.
Go down to where the race is. Get yourself a coffee or tea. Then as the runners come by, cheer them on.Tell them they’re looking good, they’re doing great, hang in there, tell them about upcoming downhills, cheer, clap, yell woohoo. Whatever works for you. The best runners will appreciate you just being there. The rest will be rejuvenated by your encouagement.
I went down today to the Toronto marathon yesterday and in a short time made a few dozen people smile. Having run a few myself, I know how great it is for people to turn out and do that.
Everyone in a marathon is struggling to do their best in the face of great difficulty. Even the best of runners. Your encouragment is greatly appreciated. You can make a dozen people feel better in the time it takes you to finish your tea.
Posted in advice, running
With regards to the question: when should one wear red? There are two occasions when one should wear red:
- If you feel like wearing red, then go and wear red!
- If you really don’t feel like wearing red, then you must wear red.
has great clothes. Anyone who can make a cardigan this well….
… deserves a look!
According to the nytimes.com blog, Bits ,
Starbucks announced today it will give most any customer two consecutive hours a day of free Wi-Fi access. Specifically, that offer applies to anyone who uses its prepaid Starbucks Card at least once a month. That represents as many as 60 hours of access for the price of one $2 cup of coffee.
It’s interesting to think of Starbucks as a network service provider. It has the potential to open up lots of other business opportunities for them as well. See Bits for more info.
I love the cloud paintings of Richard Herman. You can find out more about his work and even purchase it from the fine Toronto art gallery, Art Interiors.
From the excellent tumblelog, Daily Meh
It mirrors some of the ideas from the book, Art and Fear, that I blogged about earlier.
…by reading this article, Chasing the Darkness With Sleight of Hand in the New York Times, which presents a nice case study on how to make a dark room light up. It features a room by Jeffrey Bilhuber, a Manhattan interior designer, whose client had a bedroom in their apartment with very little light. The end result is light and very attractive. Lots of good ideas to borrow here.
Matthew Sullivan has a great idea for a wine blog. His blog, the Short Cellar, is all about:
“….offering some advice about the joy of aging wine as I build my own cellar from the ground up, detailing what is going in, when it comes out, and what happened to it along the way. My emphasis will be on wines that are easily available in Ontario and that only take a year or two before developing into something special. Who has time to wait 10 years? I’m patient, but not a saint. There’s a perception that having a wine cellar implies expertise or money. This is a myth. You’re never too young, dumb, or soaked in debt to want a better bottle of wine. It’s true that a cellar takes some foresight and knowledge, but only enough to guess what you are going to have for dinner three years from now, and the knowledge that you’ll want something extraordinary to wash it down. You can spend any amount that you wish on wine, but the sweet spot is between $15 and $25. At that level, there are some exceptional wines that will mature marvellously, but there’s no guilt in drinking them at any time since, litre for litre, they are still cheaper than a latte.”
Sounds like a great idea. See The Short Cellar for more.
people who wonder, “why blog?”, the people at lifehack.org have listed
a number of strong reasons why you should in their article, How To Use Your Blog To Make 2008 Your Best Year Ever!
article is written from a viewpoint of how to use a blog to improve
yourself, and the bonuses they list regarding blogging (e.g. track
progress, get feedback, share knowledge) apply to anyone, either
personally or professionally.
The New York Times has a good summary on the various web sites offering publishing services in their article: Got a Manuscript? Publishing Now a Snap – New York Times. There are references to lulu.com, blurb.com and others.
If you have been always dying to see your work bound in hardcover, check out this article and then the sites they mention.
blogto does a great job of covering Toronto, including restaurants. And this review of Country Style Hungarian Restaurant is no exception.
There used to be a number of Hungarian restaurants in the Annex, including the Korona, my old favourite. Sadly, most of them are gone. But not Country Style. Head on over to 450 Bloor St West and have one of these…
…and you will be very glad you did!
(image link to blogto)
I stumbled across this demo of how to pick a master lock #175. There are alot of these videos! If your lock is in one of them, you should get rid of it.
That said, it is impressive to see some of these videos. It’s hackers for hardware.
YouTube – How to pick a Master Lock #175 with a paper clip…
Over at the well done blog, Zen Habits, is a list of The Four Laws of Simplicity, and How to Apply Them to Life
The laws themselves are:
1. Collect everything in one place.
2. Choose the essential.
3. Eliminate the rest.
4. Organize the remaining stuff neatly and nicely.
But see their article for good advice on how to apply them.
There are a number of architects and builders specializing in very small dwellings for people.
Tumbleweed Houses are appropriately named and nicely done. It makes being a nomad seem grand! You should visit the site, just to see what can be packed into such a small space.
If you love bread, or want to learn how to bake it, the Bread Blog has lots of great recipes and instructions on how to make all kinds of bread, including one of my favourites, Panettone (chocolate chip, no less)
CreatingMinds.org has these great creative tools that can
help you and your organization become even more creative.
I highly recommend them.
I think I have the perfect new year resolution for people in Toronto: eat all of this food before 2009! Forget that dieting stuff, this is the year to Eat, Drink and be Daring (as the good folks as Toronto Life recommend).
Go to the article…but not on an empty stomach!
The good folks over at RealSimple.com have some great ideas for this Christmas. They have a nice Holiday Gift List Worksheet and a list 50 Gifts Under $50.If you are not close to done or could use some help, go there now.
(Tip from lifehacker.com)
Over at ThinkSimpleNow.com is a list of 40 Simple Gift Ideas to Spark a Smile | . If you are stuck for gift ideas, check it out. They have separated out into:
* Unique Gifts
* Gifts that Touch the Soul
* Books that Change Lives
* Alternative Wrapping Ideas
Who wouldn’t like something like this?
Right now I am working on a “nutritious neon appliance”…I think my kids will love it.
Make it very short. Too the point. Like this.
I think the geekdad blog at Wired is great. (Hey, lots of geeks eventually have children! ) There’s lots of good, practical advice there. (Plus cool gadgets).
The latest article,The Science of Raising Smart Kids has some good advice on getting your kids to be smarter. It’s all about how you praise your kids. Go to the article for more details.
This Toronto Based Gallery Specializing in Art from Up and Coming Artists has a great annual festival of small works of art on sale for $50 to $250. And the people who run it are great people too.
lifehack.org had a pointer to this great collection of people who failed or were considered failures: They Did Not Give Up
Anyone suffering from one of life’s many setbacks can take comfort from this.
WiReD’s compiler blog has the story here
Over at lifehack.org is a good article on how to fail and why it is important. Some of the points are:
- Fail with grace
- Have a plan B
- Forgive and relive
- Get perspective
- Stop doing that!
- Do something
Go see How to Fail at Practically Anything and start failing today!
CNN has cribbed some material from Real Simple and the FlyLady to help you get your home cleaned in a flash. I don’t know if you can do it in 19 minutes, but it can be close.
How to clean your home in 19 minutes – CNN.com
Also, if you have kids (or a sloppy spouse/roommate who won’t clean up), get some baskets and keep them nearby. Then go around the house, scoop up some stuff and put it in their room. Time = 1-2 minutes.
Hey, smart people don’t spend all day cleaning…they have better things to do!
Image: James Worrell at realsimple.com
If you are serious about cooking, or want to know the definitive way to cook something, I highly recommend Cook’s Illustrated.
It’s a great magazine about cooking as opposed to a collection of recipes. You will get recipes, too, but you will discover a whole lot more about the process of transforming food.
Plus they have reviews of cooking tools, premade sauces, menus, and much more.
The globeandmail.com has been good enough to set up a searchable database of wine recommendations based on Beppi Crossariol’s wine columns found regularly in their paper. You can search the database in a number of ways, including wines under $10 (you will find around 20 bottles). Some of them are wines I mentioned earlier (like Corten from Moldova) but others are new to me (including some tetra pak ones, no less).
The other nice thing about this is that you can find the wine, and then go to the article. Beppi’s a good writer with good and varied taste: the articles are worth a read, too.
Check outThe Wine Butler
There are lots of great ideas and fantastic drawings over at gapingvoid. I really liked this section: how to be creative
For some , the notion of an RSS feed may be new. So check out this on businessweek.com:
What’s an RSS Feed?
Once you get used to RSS feeds, you will be glad you did.
P.S. There are lots of other good links there too, including Blogging For Beginners
CNN, in conjunction with
has some advice on how to live A better life in no time
While my first response is to be snide, it is good, if not earth shattering advice. At the very least, look at it and say: yup, got that covered.
The Web site, The Printable CEO™, has a great tool called the Emergent Task Timer. It
- allows you to easily capture tasks you have to do as they come up
- easily track the time you spend on them
- reminds you when to update your info.
Check it out at: Emergent Task Timer Online (Flash Alpha)
Or go to David Seah’s site for more productivity tips:
This study says eating dark chocolate lowers blood pressure. The participants in the German study ate just a small amount of Ritter chocolate. (Ritter is good and easily available in Toronto). The article goes on to say:
Every day for 18 weeks, the volunteers were instructed to eat
one-square portions of a 16-square Ritter Sport bar, or a similar
portion of white chocolate. White chocolate doesn’t contain cocoa.
Systolic blood pressure,
the top number, fell an average of nearly three points and diastolic
dropped almost two points in the dark chocolate group, compared with no
change in blood pressure readings in the white chocolate group.
Tests suggested that steady exposure to dark chocolate prompted
chemical changes that helped dilate blood vessels and regulate blood
pressure, the researchers said.
So there you go: take two blocks of chocolate every day, have a glass of red wine, and don’t forget the apples, and you should live to be 100!
For more details, see Chocolate reduces blood pressure – Yahoo! News
While this is on a site for software development, it is not a bad approach to anyone of us — developer or not — who has alot of projects and can’t seem to decide which one to do next.
See: How to prioritize quickly and easily
The Zen habits blog is full of great advice. For those of you who might want to start running, or used to run but haven’t run in awhile, I strongly recommend you look at this: Beginner’s Guide to Running | zen habits
There’s lots of great tips there.
One site they didn’t mention is Hal Higdon‘s web site. It is PACKED with good advice. You can buy lots of magazines and books on running. Or you can save your money for better shoes and use these sites instead.
Posted in advice, running
Father’s Day is coming up, and with ties going the way of the dodo
bird, perhaps the next best thing for a Father — new or old — is all
things BBQ. So if you are going to give your father something BBQish,
perhaps give him a print out of this article:
Grill The Best Steak Ever – Men’s Health
Oh. Some nice steaks would be good too.