Category: Staying Motivated

Friday Link Round-Up: Weakness Edition

Collapsed Pup by Elizabeth Ditty

Whether you’ve faced the question in an interview or have been provoked to do some soul-searching on your own, there’s something to be said for knowing your weaknesses and how to deal with them.  Reviewing Steve Jobs’ biography earlier this week got me thinking about strengths & weaknesses and how we manage them.

Thought-Provoker of the Week

The first step to dealing with your weaknesses is learning what they are and how to talk about them.  Penelope Trunk talks about how to do both.

Lesson of the Week

Once we’ve identified and come to terms with our weaknesses, we can then focus on turning the into strengths.  ZenHabits talks about how to do just that.

Recipe of the Week

This Men’s Health article suggests that the problem with most of our restaurant comfort foods is cheap, poor-quality, artificial ingredients.  By using high-quality, real foods, we can take our favorite comfort foods into something that, if not exactly healthy, at least isn’t detrimental to our health.

Product of the Week

Coffee is definitely one of my weaknesses, and while I adore my Starbucks baristas, I’m trying to be more responsible with how much money I spend there.

To help in this endeavor, in addition to my pour-over coffee, we recently spent a grand total of less than $40 on a Bialetti espresso maker and a milk frother to use at home.  So far, we’re very impressed with the simplicity and quality of both, and it’s nice being able to have what feels like a little bit of luxury at home.

Laugh of the Week

Sometimes the best way to face a weakness is simply to embrace it, just like Loca, the dog who can’t run.

 

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Friday Link Round-Up: Patience Edition

Patient Gargoyle, by Elizabeth Ditty

As of writing this, I’m still waiting on this kiddo to show up. I’m not exactly a patient person to begin with, but having to deal with the anticipation of actually holding and interacting with my kiddo in person (instead of in belly) and the desperate desire to have my body back to myself is really putting me to the test.  And so, for this week’s round-up, I’m going to grudgingly focus on patience.

Lesson of the Week

If patience is important in waiting for a kiddo to arrive, it’s going to become invaluable once I’m a parent.  Zenhabits has 10 tips to become a patient parent that seem workable.

Thought Provoker of the Week

When it comes to business, is patience still a virtue in this day & age of Instagram & Pinterest? FastCompany thinks so.

Recipe of the Week

A couple years back, during a rough time in my life, I spent the morning making this “weapons-grade” ratatouille on the recommendation of my friend Jon (and subsequently wrote this about the ratatouille-making experience).  Does it require patience? Yes. Is it worth it? Absolutely.

Product of the Week

Back during the ratatouille phase, I was struggling with where I was in life versus where I wanted to be.  The book “You Are Here” by Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh really helped me learn to recenter myself by getting back to acknowledging and appreciating the present moment.  It’s a great read with very practical advice no matter what your spiritual inclinations.

Laugh of the Week

I may be 30, with child & happily attached, but I’m not going to miss an opportunity to include both Zac Efron and Elmo. Come on.

Friday Link Round-Up: Life Balance Edition

Golden Buddha, by Elizabeth Ditty

By the time this goes live, it’s entirely possible I could have a baby in my arms instead of in my belly — and if not now, then soon!  So, as you can imagine, I’m looking for any and all advice on how to maintain a good life balance between a day job, freelance work, family and creative pursuits.  So this week’s links are all about finding some semblance of balance.

Lesson of the Week

One of my favorite bloggers, Joanna Goddard of A Cup of Jo, has done two life balance series where she interviewed a variety of women to find out how they manage it all.

Thought Provoker of the Week

Despite all the advantages women have today, Anne-Marie Slaughter argues why women still can’t have it all — and what needs to change for real equal opportunity to exist.

Recipe of the Week

I’ve talked about freezer cooking before, and I recently made a freezer version of Shutterbean’s Curried Chicken & Coconut Rice for easy meals while I’m on maternity leave (and beyond).  I’ve also heard awesome things about her Freezer Burritos, so those may go on my to-make list soon, too.

Gaiam Balance Ball Chair

Product of the Week

What is a better representation of work-life balance than sitting on a balance ball while you work?  I’ve wanted one of these Balance Ball Chairs for a long time, and this may finally be the year I treat myself to one.

Laugh of the Week

Why I’ll probably keep the chair at home instead of at my office job.

How do you all maintain work-life balance?

Link Round-up: Groundhog Day Edition

The Brave One by Elizabeth Ditty

I don’t know about you, but Groundhog Day gets me excited every year — not because of poor Punxsutawney Phil being pulled from his nice, warm hole in the ground, but because it gets me thinking about spring!  I love winter for November and December, but as soon as Dec. 26 hits, I’m ready for sunny & 70 again.  I can’t promise summer weather is just around the corner, but I can deliver this link round-up — Groundhog Day Edition!

Lesson of the Week

Do you suffer from the winter blues?  Whether you have full-on seasonal affective disorder or a simple case of the winter blahs, these eight ways to beat the winter blues are sure to help.

Product of the Week

Did you know that having indoor plants can better your health? From improving air quality to reducing fatigue and stress, adding a plant to your work space can make a big difference in how you feel during the day.

Recipe of the Week

It’s not only plants that can boost your mood — it’s what you eat, too!  Check out this list of 25 meals to boost your mood from Greatist.

Thought-Provoker of the Week

If winter has left you feeling stagnant and uncertain about what happens next, these words of encouragement from Danielle LaPorte might help you take heart.

Laugh of the Week

You can’t have a post about Groundhog Day without talking about the brilliant film of the same name.

 

Remember, no matter what good ol’ Phil tells us tomorrow, remember spring starts March 20 — right around the corner!

Friday Link Round-Up: Small Change, Big Difference Edition

I <3 Coffee

When you’re facing a huge pile of tasks or find yourself in a creative rut, it’s hard to know how to climb your way of it.  But any effort starts with a single step, and sometimes making a small change in your life can make a huge difference.  That’s what this week’s link round-up is all about.

Product of the Week

I tried really hard to fall in love with French Press coffee, and for a while, we really had something going.  But after a while I had to admit that French Press was a little too acidic for my tastes, not to mention a tad bit grainy toward the bottom.  Enter the Pour Over Method, which uses a cone and a disposable or permanent filter.  It’s a beautiful thing.  I use The Kitchn’s instructions with a digital scale, but you can still get great results with a little less precision.  It’s a small change in the 10 minutes I spend making coffee in the morning (when I’m not running to Starbucks, that is), but it makes it much, much more enjoyable.

Recipe of the Week

Lately I’ve been trying to stock my freezer with ready-to-heat-and-eat meals for after the baby arrives — and also because it’s just good practice for busy people.  While Dump Chicken is perhaps the worst name for a recipe, there’s no denying the simplicity of buying chicken in bulk, placing (or fine, DUMPING) it in a Ziplock bag, adding marinade or stew ingredients, and tossing it in the freezer ’til you’re ready to stick (OK, fine! DUMP) it in a crockpot. Add a side of veggies and a complex carb, and you’ve got a well-rounded, healthy, easy meal. Here’s a list of 48 versions.

Thought-Provoker of the Week

In January of last year, I stumbled across FatMumSlim’s #fmsphotoaday challenge.  She provides a list of prompts each month, and the idea is (you guessed it) to take a photo each day somehow related to the prompt.  There are other versions of this, like #project365, as well as a bunch of photoaday copycat lists, but they all serve the same purpose — getting you to find something new/unique/remarkable every day of your life.  My record isn’t perfect (that isn’t the point), but I’ve noticed beauty in places I’d never have thought to look by taking part.  In fact, many of the photos you see on this blog are a result of that effort.  I wrote a post on my personal blog about it last year expanding on why it’s a great idea, especially for writers.  With the prevalence of cell phone cameras these days, whether you choose to post them somewhere or not, it’s definitely a small but rewarding change to your life worth considering.

Laugh of the Week

And with talk of any photo challenge must come acknowledgment that you’re probably going to take some of these photos. You can still laugh at this video and continue to take said photos. Or at least I do.

Lesson of the Week

All great ventures are done one little step at a time.  If a goal is truly important to you, if you can commit to doing at least one thing a day to get you closer to achieving that goal, you’ve got a great chance of getting there — and sooner rather than later.  Here Seth Godin offers a few ideas on using the “one thing a day” principle to market your small business.

Friday Link Round-Up: Don’t Give Up Edition

Tea Wisdom: Inspiration is an unlimited power.

They say that nearly half of us make New Year’s Resolutions every year, but only 8 percent of us are successful in achieving those resolutions.  If you’re struggling now that the newness of 2013 is starting to fade, it’s perfectly OK to give yourself a new start.  Remember, it only takes 21 days to form a habit, so there’s still plenty of time left in the year to make good on those resolutions.

Product of the Week

One way to stay on track during those habit-forming 21 days and beyond is the Chain Method, first popularized by this Lifehacker article on Jerry Seinfeld.  As much as I love all the digital tools out there, sometimes there’s nothing better or more motivational than a good, old-fashioned calendar.  I like the size & feel of a traditional desk calendar, but this dry erase calendar is pretty snazzy, too.

Recipe of the Week

If you’re looking for healthy but also delicious recipes, then check out Gina’s SkinnyTaste food blog. She provides not only the recipe (with enticing pictures) but also nutritional information (including Weight Watchers points, if that’s your program of choice), so you can choose and plan recipes to fit your diet.  Here are her Top 25 recipes of 2012 to get you started.  (I adapted her Skinny Scones on New Year’s Day, and they were excellent.)

Thought-Provoker of the Week

Forbes tells us why our New Year’s Resolutions will fail by Feb. 1 — and offers advice on how NOT to let that happen.  And remember, you can make resolutions at any time of the year, so if you’ve decided your initial resolutions weren’t quite right, use this advice to make new ones!

Laugh of the Week

Jimmy Kimmel asks folks if they’ve been able to keep their New Year’s resolutions two & a half weeks into the new year.

Lesson of the Week

And because any time is a good time for a TED Talk, 12 TED Talks to inspire your New Year’s (and anytime) resolutions.

Bonus Video of the Week

And when times get tough, just remember…

That’s it, folks! Have a great weekend!

Friday Link Round-Up: New Year Edition

Tea Wisdom from Yogi TeaHere’s what’s been capturing my attention around the internet this week.  If you’ve come across anything interesting (or have anything to say about the links below), I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Product of the Week

If a new and improved healthy eating plan is on your agenda for the New Year, then this Personal Blender with a Travel Lid is fantastic way to enjoy easy-to-make, vitamin-packed smoothies on your way to work or after a workout without dirtying up another cup.  Pro Tip: start with liquid, then add softer ingredients like yogurt, fresh produce, protein powders, etc., and top it off with frozen items like fruit or ice.

Recipe of the Week

And to go with that blender, how about a Green Smoothie Challenge? This collection of 5 combinations is super easy to get you into the the green smoothie habit.  I’ve been looking for easier ways to get my fruits & veggies in (since I crave salt & sugar even MORE while pregnant apparently), and smoothies are a great way to do it.  Adding a handful of spinach or kale to a fruit-filled smoothie packs a huge nutritional punch, and you’ll never even know you’re drinking spinach/kale — except for the bright green color, that is.  Throw in some Greek yogurt or some protein powder to make it a fully functioning nutritional powerhouse!

Thought-Provoker of the Week

I’m big on reviewing the previous year (the good and bad) and setting new goals for the next year.  Instead of setting New Year’s resolutions, I define New Year’s initiatives.  I first came across Nicole’s review method in 2011, and I used it again at the end of 2012.  If you haven’t done any sort of review/initiative process yet and want to, check out her free guide.

Laugh of the Week

To the point about why content matters, from The Oatmeal: How to Get More Likes on Facebook

Lesson of the Week

Inc. interviews successful entrepreneurs for their advice on How to Succeed in 2013.

Shameless Self-Promotion of the Week

Speaking of facebook (and I’m pretty sure I’m not committing any of The Oatmeal’s DON’Ts here), if you’re facebook-inclined and like what you’ve seen so far here, I’d like to invite you to visit (and like if you like!) the Sarah Writes Stories facebook page, just launched last night.  Thanks, and have an awesome weekend!