I went kikki.K-razy!

As is evident is past posts (for example: here) and to anyone that knows a bit about me, I freakin’ love all things stationary and organisation and am particularly obsessed with the brand kikki.K. In the above post I spoke about their Goals Book, Wellbeing Journal and Gratitude Book which I absolutely love and have been using as part of my Happiness Project. I tend to raid kikki.K once every few months so am naturally on their mailing list – a member if you will – and just so happened to get a lovely little email about their new “Organisk” range with a $10 gift voucher.

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Of course, I couldn’t resist, so I hightailed it to my nearest kikki.K store and instead of just spending $10 in order to get the $10 voucher, I bought pretty much the whole range. It was all so pretty! Here’s what I scored:

3 Pack of Notebooks

Daily Notes

Note Cube and Pen

Weekly Meal Planner

I originally intended only to buy the 3 pack of unlined notebooks as I was given these as a Christmas gift last year – but in the Botaniska range – and I absolutely love them, I use them for everything. The Daily Notes pad is such an “Eleanor” item – it has different sections for the Today’s Date, Top 3 Priorities, Appointments, To Do List, Water Intake, Tonight’s Dinner, For Tomorrow and “What I’m Thankful For”. I was so excited about this item, it’s pretty much all the notes I take each day but compiled into one super cute page! I also got this adorable note cube with a built in pen holder – and, naturally, I got the matching pen. This has come in very handy for leaving notes for my boyfriend to clean the dishes or to take down quick notes while on the phone. And lastly is something I had been wanting to get for a while, a weekly meal planner. This is particularly useful for planning out healthy meals and to help to do the weekly shopping without wasting time um-ing and ah-ing in the supermarket.

Well, there you have it. My latest shopping spree. This coming from someone that can’t justify spending $20 on a top while in dire need of a wardrobe upgrade – I’ll happily spend away in kikki.K. Hmm, are my priorities mixed up? Oh well, organisation!

Eleanor

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Happiness Project: March

Hello and Happy Easter to everyone! My sincere apologies for my disappearing act over the past month. I think all bloggers suffer this fate at one point or another in the early stages of their blogging life. I suppose it’s just a good reminder to always stay consistent, because it’s all too easy to fall behind. I was on a roll for a while, posting almost every day and then I let myself make excuses for being too busy to write a post or too tired, or sick etc etc.

Anyway, I apologise and promise to do my very best to pick up my game!

So, it’s now April and I am overdue on an update on how my March resolution for my Happiness Project went. The goal for the month of March was Health.

Health

Going back to my Year 11 Health studies, the World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”.

I think the theme of health is one that is very closely tied to goals and resolutions of people throughout the western world. How often do you hear about people making New Year’s resolutions to “lose 10 kilos” or “quit smoking” or vowing to start eating healthily or start that new diet next Monday? It’s a popular and tired goal, but one that most people strive for their whole lives.

I am no different. I had planned to dedicate the month of March to finally kicking off sustainable and healthy eating habits for good. I even bought a book called The Beauty Detox Solution by nutritionist Kimberly Snyder and had wanted to use her advice and recipes to start my new healthy way of life.

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For the grammar-savvy folk out there (or, well, anyone) you’ll notice that the above is all in past tense. I had planned to do all these things. But, sadly I didn’t quite achieve it. I could sit here and come up with all number of excuses as to why it simply wasn’t possible to achieve this particular goal – I was busy, it was too hard to sustain, her suggestions were impractical, the food was too expensive, blah blah blah – but the fact of the matter is that Health, like so many other things, is a constant, ever changing concept that I will be struggling with and working on for the rest of my life. It is not something that can be addressed and improved upon in one simple month after reading one book.

And that’s ok, I’m ok with that. Yes, I still eat chocolate more than I should and don’t always have a healthy meal planned with ingredients bought and ready to cook every night of the week. But I am always working and trying to do better, and I think that counts for something. Health is something that is really important to me and my lifestyle and I like to think that I’m a pretty healthy, active person in general. Luckily for me, my interest in health, fitness and nutrition is just that – an interest. I care about my health and place great importance on it because I think it matters and it is in my best interests. I don’t have any serious health problems, I’m not obese or terribly unfit. I’ve got it pretty good.

So, that’s how March went. I’m incredibly pleased to say that, never mind not addressing Health as planned, I have continued to keep up with my January and February goals of Enterprise and Productivity. I’m happy to report that I have been working very hard throughout the month of March on two separate business endeavours while working four different jobs and still dancing at least four times a week.

I’m pretty happy with my progress. There’s always room for improvement and my Happiness Project is designed to be a constant, ongoing and flowing thing. Just because I affix a goal or resolution to each month doesn’t mean that I stop pursuing it once the month is up or get down on myself if I didn’t quite achieve what I had set out to do. I think this is an important thing to think about and always keep in mind, you can always work on yourself and aim higher – if you fall short, just get right back up again and keep trying!

So, what do I have planned for April? Attitude. This month is all about positive thinking and looking on the bright side of life. Stay tuned for an update of my progress throughout the month and a review about how I went at the end of the month.

I also promise to post some yummy recipes, DIY projects, product reviews and more very soon!

Eleanor
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Happiness Project: February Tools (& free printable)

In my previous post here I spoke about my Happiness Project goal for this month. Productivity. I have been doing my best this month to stop procrastinating once and for all and be as productive as possible with my work and day-to-day tasks.

One thing that I mentioned in my previous post was that I have been writing down a list of tasks each morning. Most people would see this as a “to-do list”, but I have somewhat of a problem with that terminology. The “to-do” part of our every day to-do list holds with it connotations of arduous, mundane tasks or chores. I got tired of seeing my day and the things I had to complete in this light. So instead I have started to think about my tasks as Things to Achieve.

New to do list

Print it out for yourself!

It’s all about attitude. If you shift your view of your daily tasks you will begin to see them as small achievements towards a greater goal. And when I say greater goal, I’m not thinking of world peace or anything like that. You might have “go grocery shopping” on your to-do list, which is seemingly boring and mundane if you think of it as a chore. But try viewing it as something you are going to achieve, with the greater goal in mind being to eat healthily, save money on take-out, whatever.

I’ve found that this very simple shift in attitude has helped to motivate me to complete my every day tasks, because they are all working towards something. I also like to look back on my list of Things to Achieve at the end of the day to review my progress. It gives me a sense of achievement to see what tasks I completed each day, as well as providing a challenge for the next day with those tasks that I may not have achieved throughout the day.

It’s all about attitude.

Click the link for a copy of the template for a list of Things to AchieveYou can find out more about the tools I use for my Happiness Project here.

Good luck!

Eleanor x

Happiness Project: February

You may have noticed that this past month I haven’t been posting quite so often and not nearly as much as I would like to. This is primarily due to February’s Happiness Project Goal, which ironically didn’t leave me with enough time to make or bake anything that would have lead to a post. So, what goal would that be, Eleanor?

Productivity

:productivity |ˌprōˌdəkˈtivətē, ˌprädək-,prəˌdək-|noun: the quality, state, or fact of being able to generate, create,enhance, or bring forth goods and services

Throughout February (yes, I am aware that we still have 9 days left of the month) I have resolved to be as productive as I can be. Productivity is something that is always in my mind, the ultimate goal in a way. It’s something that I feel I often struggle with – especially at Uni when assignments are due. I can be an outstanding procrastinator, which is essentially the direct opposite of being productive. I am of the opinion that when you are being productive you do not feel as though you are just getting things done, but that you are achieving. For me, the feeling of daily achievements is a big contributor to happiness. How often do you feel down on yourself as a result of procrastination or falling short of your potential? Hopefully not too often, but for me that guilt was too present for my liking. Which brings me to my resolutions for February, the month of Productivity.

  1. Work as much as possible
  2. Write daily “to achieve” lists rather that “to do” lists
  3. Each night, reflect on what I achieved that day
  4. Use any spare time to work on nagging tasks, future projects, things that need to get done

Looking at this list of resolutions now, after 20 days of doing so, it’s a bit unrealistic. I’ll tell you why. While all my resolutions are working in favour of constantly achieving and feeling productive, I didn’t really allow myself any down time. This was a mistake. My average day this month has looked something like this:

  • Up at 5.00am/5.30am
  • Personal Training, Client 1: 6.30am – 7.30am
  • Personal Training, Client 2: 7.30am – 8.30am
  • Work at a Childcare Centre 8.30am/9.00am – 3.30pm
  • Work on PT programs, answer e-mails, work on business proposal etc during 45min lunch break
  • Nanny 3.30pm/4.00pm – 6.00pm
  • Dance classes 6.30pm – 9.30pm
  • Home at 10.00pm
  • Write a program for PT sessions
  • In bed by 11.00pm

This may or may not seem a bit hectic to you, I know many people do a lot more. Unfortunately, I have a shocking immune system that doesn’t seem to agree with my goal of productivity. I have been fighting off colds and headaches all month and fell in a heap this weekend.

I am writing this post mid-month as opposed to writing a summary of my month once it’s over because it’s not working as well as it could be. I now resolve to work smarter. So, rather than constantly working and always being on, I resolve to be more productive in shorter bursts of time. I also think I need to take the time for active relaxation. By which I mean things like yoga or meditation, not just sitting on the couch vegging out – that is not active relaxation, it’s passive relaxation.

Which all brings me to a little teaser for next month’s goal… Health. I am so excited about this one. I’ve been reading this wonderful book; The Beauty Detox Solution by Kimberly Snyder and am planning on putting a lot of her principles into  practice in March.

Stay tuned!

Eleanor x

Happiness Project: January

I had been meaning to write a post all month about my Happiness Project goals for January. Considering what my goal was, it’s a bit ironic that I never got around to doing it.

However, being the very first month of my Happiness Project and wanting to test the waters a bit, I thought it better to write an update about my progress once the month was through.

For those of you who have no idea what I’m on about, here’s a bit more information about my Happiness Project. There’s also a bit of a spiel about the tools I’ve been using for my Happiness Project here.

Now, I want to be clear about why I chose to do a Happiness Project. Judging by the name, it is understandable that many people will assume that the only reason to undertake a project focussing on happiness would be because you’re not. But that’s not what this is. A Happiness Project is not about digging yourself out of depression or trying to be happy because you ultimately are not. That is not an issue I need to address. Rather, what Gretchen Rubin (the author of The Happiness Project – my source of inspiration for starting my own Happiness Project) aimed to achieve by creating the Happiness Project was not nearly as contentious. Rubin argues that many people state that what they want out of life is purely to “be happy”, but that most people don’t put in any effort to achieve this goal. Simply put, the aim is to actively do things in your own life to create more happiness. She created The Happiness Project, in which she focussed each month on a different goal, with resolutions to actively seek out happiness in her own life. I have done the same.

So, what was my goal and overall theme for the month of January?

Enterprise

:enterprise |ˈentərˌprīz|noun1 a project or undertaking, typically one that is difficult or requires effort

It took a bit of brainstorming to come up with a name for what I wanted to achieve in my first month of my Happiness Project. Basically, I wanted to use this month to start fresh, do things that I have been “meaning to do” or putting off for one reason or another and start new endeavours. So I came up with enterprise, which sounded to me like the perfect word to sum up my goals.

This is the list of resolutions I wrote at the start of the month:

  1. Start a blog
  2. Start a small Personal Training Business and start training clients
  3. Complete a cupcake order for an event
  4. Start ballet and aerials classes (silks, trapeze, rope and hoop)
  5. Score a job that is vaguely relevant to prospective career and that will fit well around Uni

I also tried to spend the month taking advantage of any opportunities that came my way as well as making a point of using any free time to work towards my goals.

So, how did I go?

I am happy to report that I managed to keep all my resolutions for the month. YAY!!! Along with the above five resolutions I also took the time to do things I had been putting off for a while, like going to the doctor for a check-up and giving blood (I give every few months but kept forgetting to rebook). I had also been planning on doing a detox in my health focussed month of my Happiness Project this year but decided to stop putting off doing another juice cleanse and do it now. You can read about that adventure here.

By tackling my resolutions in January, I felt such a wonderful sense of achievement that, yes, made me happy. Oddly enough, while having brunch with some horoscope-obsessed girlfriends this morning, I was read my horoscope and rather surprised by Taurus’ golden nugget of (amazingly relevant) advice from Jonathan Cainer:

“If we only ever allow ourselves to feel good when we think we’ve got a good reason, we’re really limiting our lives. You need no explanations or justifications now. You just need to trust what you feel.”

Whether you believe in horoscopes or not, I think that’s pretty damn good advice.

Eleanor x

My Mantra…

SUBJUNCTIVE

In the afterlife you are judged not against other people, but against yourself. Specifically, you are judged against what you could have been. So the afterworld is much like the present world, but it now includes all the yous that could have been. In an elevator you might meet more successful versions of yourself, perhaps the you that chose to leave your hometown three years earlier, or the you who happened to board an airplane next to a company president who then hired you. As you meet these yous, you experience a pride of the sort you feel for a successful cousin: although the accomplishments don’t directly belong to you, it somehow feels close.

But soon you fall victim to intimidation. These yous are not really you, they are better than you. They made smarter choices, worked harder, invested the extra effort into pushing on closed doors. These doors eventually broke open for them and allowed their lives to splash out in colorful new directions. Such success cannot be explained away by a better genetic hand; instead, they played your cards better. In their parallel lives, they made better decisions, avoided moral lapses, did not give up on love so easily. They worked harder than you did to correct their mistakes and apologized more often.

Eventually you cannot stand hanging around these better yous. You discover you’ve never felt more competitive with anyone in your life.

You try to mingle with the lesser yous, but it doesn’t assuage the sting. In truth, you have little sympathy for these less significant yous and more than a little haughtiness about their indolence. “If you had quit watching TV and gotten off the couch you wouldn’t be in this situation,” you tell them, when you bother to interact with them at all.

But the better yous are always in your face in the afterlife. In the bookstore you’ll see one of them arm in arm with the affectionate woman whom you let slip away. Another you is browsing the shelves, running his fingers over the book he actually finished writing. And look at this one jogging past outside: he’s got a much better body than yours, thanks to a consistency at the gym that you never kept up.

Eventually you sink into a defensive posture, seeking reasons why you would not want to be so well behaved and virtuous in any case. You grudgingly befriend some of the lesser yous and go drinking with them. Even at the bar you see the better yous, buying rounds for their friends, celebrating their latest good choice.

And thus your punshment is cleverly and automatically regulated in the afterlife: the more you fall short of your potential, the more of these annoying selves you are forced to deal with.

Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives by David Eagleman