Staying Motivated in 2017

Tips on how to get your groove back and keep it

The New Year is in full swing and if you’re like most people, some of those resolutions you were excited about may have already slipped to the wayside. As we settle back into our everyday lives, a little motivation might be necessary to get you back on track. If you find yourself in need of a mental or physical pick-me-up, here are some simple tips to help you bounce back into 2017:

Break a Sweat
One of the best ways to clear your mind is to move your body! Exercising at least 20 minutes every day will give your psyche a boost; whether it’s a walk or a yoga class or any other physical activity that you love.  If you need motivation, try scheduling your workouts in advance and writing them in your calendar as part of your day. Having a workout buddy to help keep you accountable (and vice-versa) can also keep you on track.

Clean Out the Clutter
It can be hard to find your groove when you’re surrounded by clutter. Clothes that you don’t wear anymore, old magazines, paperwork; anything you’re holding onto that you don’t really need is just taking up space in your life. Clear your closet of any clothes that you haven’t worn in 1 year. You could also apply this rule of organization to other things in your home or office that do not serve a purpose.

We often get wrapped up in our own lives and lose sight of how fortunate we truly are. Consider volunteering to help others. Decide what cause is closest to your heart and find charities or organizations in your area that are a good fit. Even if you can only give a few hours a month, it is sure to lift your spirits.

Friend Time
Friendship is a vital part of our lives. Studies have shown that people with multiple social contacts and outlets are generally healthier and happier. At least once a week, schedule time to see a friend; even if it is only a 15-minute coffee date. You’ll leave your hangout feeling connected and content.

Play Time!
You may find yourself consumed with work or household tasks, leaving you without any “play time”. Take a cue from a child’s life and take some time to have fun! Being silly and laughing can relieve you of stress and boost your motivation as well.

Valentine’s Date Night Movies

What to watch if you’re staying in

Valentine’s Day is upon us and while this annual celebration of love is usually associated with a night out on the town, the simple truth is it can be just as romantic,  if not more so, to stay in. So if you’re among the many to hear the call of your couch on February 14th, why not redefine Netflix and chill with one of these Valentine’s Day classics?  

A late 80’s classic that won Cher an Oscar for Best Actress. This heartfelt, inspiring and utterly authentic romantic comedy set in Brooklyn is about passion, fate and never settling for anything less than a perfect match.

The Way We Were
In need of a good cry? Look no further. The Way We Were is a cinematicreflection on what makes two people click versus what makes a relationship work. It’s the ultimate tear-jerker for those who feel that “the one” may have gotten away.

Before Sunrise/Before Sunset
Ready to reminisce? The first two installments of this Julie Delpy/Ethan Hawke trilogy will have you feeling like a kid again. They may also remind you that magic exists and can be recaptured!

Sleepless in Seattle
And you thought your love faced obstacles. Visit an era when dating apps were unimaginable and there was no FaceTime for long distance relationships in the film that made Hanks and Ryan the rom-com couple.

Four Weddings and a Funeral
Get ready to swoon over Hugh Grant at his most charming. Andie MacDowell plays the American he falls for in Richard Curtis’s first, and quite possibly best film; and he’s the guy who brought us Love Actually!

Bull Durham
This  is a film where the female lead has all the power,and yet it’s still a “guy’s movie”.Kevin Costner’s speech defining love is one for the record booksand Susan Sarandon smolders as the woman caught between him and a younger, dumber Tim Robbins.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Would you erase your heartbreak if you could? Eternal Sunshine will help even the most broken heart heal by realizing that everything in love is worth remembering – even the hard parts!

Staying in High Spirits

Quick tips to get you through a rough day

Whether you woke up on the wrong side of the bed, things aren’t going as planned, or you’re just in a general funk, research tells us that there are plenty of effective ways to boost your spirits with a small amount of effort. Here are a few action plans with feel-good benefits to help you turn your mood around.

First Thing in the Morning
If you had a bad night or wake up feeling off, open the drapes and roll up the shades to let as much light into your home as possible. Start your daily regimen, like having a cup of coffee, by a window or outside, weather permitting, to get even more vitamin D. Ask for an extra-long hug from your mate or children, or snuggle with your pooch to activate more  good mood benefits. Wear your “happy” clothes, the ones you feel the most confident in,  – to guarantee some extra comfort and maybe a few compliments.

At The Office
If your office is dark or isolated, get out every once in a while. Head to the break room, go say hello to a co-worker or look out a window, to re-energize when office issues have you on edge. A walk around the block during your lunch break gives the mind and body a healthy dose of well-being, as studies show that exercise can turn a negative mood around in just minutes. Checking out photos of loved ones, friends or pets, on your phone is another quick pick-me-up.

After Work
Do something good for yourself!  Music triggers your pleasure center, so play what soothes you or moves you to do your “happy” dance around the house. You can also take a moment to think about the good things in life, take a hot bath, watch your favorite movie or call a friend.  It can also be helpful to take the emphasis off of yourself and do something good for someone else. Being kind to others is a highly effective mood booster. Bring your neighbor cupcakes just because or give your great aunt a long overdue call.
Most importantly, take a minute to smile during the day. Smiling activates your brain’s happiness center. If it doesn’t feel real, just keep on smiling. It really works, I promise. 

5 Things To STOP Doing In 2017

Simple ways to increase your happiness

This time of year, we tend to focus on what we want to start doing – eating healthy, going to the gym more, that kind of stuff. All great pursuits, but what about considering the things you should to stop doing? Here are top picks for behaviors to stop in 2017.
Comparing Yourself to Others
“If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.” That’s from Desiderata, a 1927 pose poem by writer Max Ehrmann. Get a copy and hang it over your bathroom mirror. Ehrmann had this brilliant insight, but also many more worth living by.
Ascribing Intent
Just because somebody didn’t quickly reply to your text message doesn’t mean they don’t care about you! And maybe the checkout lady isn’t smiling because her dog died or her back hurts – not because she’s trying to slight you. Get it? The least happy people look for ways that people are insulting or demeaning them. Don’t. Do. This.
Indulging in Catastrophic Thinking
If you have a headache, you have a brain tumor. If you call home and nobody answers, your spouse has left you. Don’t laugh. Catastrophic thinking -- indulging in or ruminating about worst-case scenarios -- is a major source of stress. So much so that the University of Pennsylvania and the U.S. Army have developed programs to help soldiers avoid this very type of thinking (read about it here). So how can you stop it? First, recognize the habit. Then control your fear enough to force yourself to mentally list all the benign or even great things that could also be happening instead of the catastrophe. So maybe you have a headache because you need a glass of water or you have a sinus infection? And maybe nobody answered the phone because your spouse is grocery shopping or giving your dog a bath? Mentally force yourself to focus on the better options, because frankly, catastrophes happen, but not all that often. 
Inflating Your Expectations
Some people fall into a nasty habit of assuming, but never being clear about their expectations. Case in point: A friend worked for a small business owner for several years. The owner adored her. When he closed down his shop and she had to move on, she found out he contributed very little money to her 401(k). She was livid, disappointed and heart broken. But only because she’d dreamed up the idea that her boss was somehow “taking care of her” even if he never said this and even if she never received account statements proving this. On a small scale, many of us do this daily. We expect our spouses to cook dinner because we’re running late. And then we’re disappointed when it doesn’t happen. Expect nothing this year. Try asking instead. That way, if it doesn’t happen, you earned your disappointment.
Not Letting Go
Life is about loss. There’s nothing to be done about it. Do you have grief over a lost relationship? A job opportunity you blew? A friend, family member or pet who died? Just like you, every human has some number of these losses. In 2017, don’t hide from your losses (that is, don’t waste time obsessing over the past or what was/wasn’t, did/didn’t). Feel your grief and embrace that there’s no “getting over” loss. Instead, just let go. Letting go means simply that you’re able to move forward in your life with the full acceptance that you lost something valuable, but also that you won’t allow the loss to define or harm you. If you can’t do this – and there are plenty of people who can’t (that’s why we have stalker laws) – get professional help pronto.
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