We’re beginning a new month and a new decluttering challenge on the Intentionally Refining Your Home Facebook page. If you are interested in joining us for inspiration and encouragement to refresh, reorganize and reveal your home, then follow this link: Intentionally Refining Your Home with Taryn.
Here’s to Harmonizing!
~Helping You to Become Better Today Than Yesterday – and Better Tomorrow Than Today~
How To Develop Your Skills, Influence Positively & Change Your Thinking
Have you ever wondered why some people are so talented? What is it that gave them their extreme abilities? Were they just born with lucky genes?
Genes do play a part in it, but for the most part, luck has nothing to do with it. It turns out, talent, whether you’re talking about writing, playing the piano, or hitting a golf ball, is the result of one thing. Effort. Not just normal, every day effort. Extreme effort.
Why They Don't Work and What We Should Really Call Them
Accountability partners and accountability groups seem to be pretty popular these days. You decide that you want to commit to changing something about yourself. Maybe you want to exercise every day. You know it will be hard to keep your commitment, so you ask someone to help you and coach you to keep that commitment.
My wife, Taryn, and I have been a part of these types of groups. They sound noble on the surface, but, speaking from experience, here’s why I think accountability partners don’t work.
To clean or not to clean. Ah. That is the issue that appears on Facebook in the form of memes and quotes almost daily, posted by moms across the world. Do I clean or do I spend time with my kids?
I spend time with my kids every day. I also clean my house every day. I actually don’t mind cleaning. On some days, I would go as far as to say that I actually enjoy it. “How can she do that?” you may ask.
We are wrapping up our first full week of “Intentionally Refining Your Home”. We still have 3 full weeks left to work through this together. It’s not too late to join us! Learn how to break your home up into zones, declutter and get it in shape so it is more easily manageable.
Subscribe here on our page for more information and to join the month-long closed group!
There’s something you’ve always wanted to do in life, but you still haven’t gotten it done. You have a change you want to make in your life, but you haven’t made it. You’ve always wanted to (fill in the blank), but you haven’t yet.
Why? I suspect you haven’t accomplished it because you’re still trying to figure out how to do it. Once you figure out how, you’ll know all the steps, you’ll know how to get it done, you’ll know that you will accomplish it.
We’ve been hosting a Facebook Event called the 30-Day Better Today Than Yesterday Challenge. The response has been great so we wanted to make sure we shared everything here on the website for those that either aren’t on Facebook or that missed the challenge.
Even if you weren’t able to join the challenge on Facebook or missed it, feel free to complete the challenges on your own or grab a friend and do it together! Let us know how it impacted you!
Here’s an index to each day.
Day 1: Identify 3 goals, track # of times you say “better”, share the challenge and the why with your friends. They’ll hold you accountable!
Day 2: Good Vibes Only – smile at everyone, see the good in everything and respond to it, go out of your way to give kindness, appreciation, compliments.
Day 3: Maximize your steps today – park far away, take the stairs, go for a run, take the long way. Get in 10,000+ steps today!
Day 4: DLTs – Do the Little Things. To really build a connection in your relationship, do something little and unexpected today.
Day 5: Identify and do the big, important task first
To kick off this month of becoming “Better Today Than Yesterday”, we’re starting with a trilogy of challenges! What a way to begin!
1. Grab a pencil and piece of paper. As quickly as you can, write down the first 3 things that come to your mind when you think about wanting to better yourself. These are your goals. Tape them up where you will see them everyday. Put them on the dash of your car. Take a picture of them and use it as a background on your phone.
2. Count how many times you use the word “better” today! (Hint: The more you do #3, the more times you’ll say “better”.)
We’ll post later today to hear how many times you said it and to find out who said it the most!
3. Talk to as many people as you can today about this 30-Day Challenge, why you are doing it, and invite them to join you! When people know about your goals, they help keep you accountable.
Today’s challenge is to assume the role of the person who can speak, think and act only in a good vibey, nothing-can-bring-me-down, like-I’m-wearing-new-underwear kind of way.
We don’t realize the power and impact that a positive outlook can have.
1. Smile at every single person you pass today. Notice how they smile back.
2. See the good in everything today. Look for good in your spouse, coworkers, kids, friends. Tell them what you see.
3. Go out of your way to be kind, appreciative and complimentary.
What did you notice that was different about your day? How did you feel differently? How was your outlook toward others?
Make sure to tell us your experiences! Comment below!
Maximize Your Steps Today!
In his outstanding book, “Eat Move Sleep”, Tom Rath says, “When researchers compared the average number of steps per day across different nations, they discovered that the average American falls below this sedentary line at just 5117 steps per day. (5500 steps per day is considered sedentary.) In comparison, the average Australian takes 9695 steps per day, nearly two times the average American’s steps per day. This helps explain why Australia’s obesity rate is just 16% while the United States’ is 34%.”
We don’t take enough steps. Think about how sedentary most of us are. We sit in the car, sit at work, sit when we eat, sit on the couch.
After all of that sitting around, then we fight for the front row parking space. We take the elevator instead of the stairs. We use the people movers at the airport instead of walking.
Your challenge today is to maximize your steps. If you can make it happen, get in 10,000 steps. (That’s about 5 miles.) If you have a pedometer, keep track and make it happen. If you don’t have a pedometer, just move. Everywhere.
Instead of parking in the front row, park in the last row.
Instead of the elevator, take the stairs.
Instead of using the closest bathroom, walk (or run) to the furthest.
Take a walk at lunch and during a break.
Wherever you’re going, take the long way.
Be creative and have fun with it!
If you are interested in ordering the book, you can buy it here.
DLTs (Do the Little Things)
Today’s challenge will help you focus on the relationships in your life. Whether you are single or in a relationship or married – you will find that you will be better when you intentionally follow today’s challenge.
Do little things for others, as much as you can today. Do little things that are unexpected, that are not asked of you, that will surprise someone.
Something that may seem little to you, may hold a really BIG place in someone’s heart.
Decide who you want to do something little for today, and make that person feel like there’s no one more special.
Be creative! Do something small, but nice that shows your appreciation.
Share your DLTs below! We want to know what you are planning to do or have done today!
When you take today’s challenge, you will better your productivity and time management.
Mark Twain spurred the idea that if you eat a live frog first thing in the morning, you have it behind you and the rest of the day is easy.
What this means is that we need to do the most important, most significant task before anything else in our day.
The challenge with this is that we tend to fool ourselves into thinking we’re busy because we are completing a lot of tasks. In reality, we’re doing a bunch of meaningless little things to avoid doing the most important one.
Your challenge for today is to do the big, important task first, before anything else, without delaying. Push the less important tasks to the side until the important one is done.
We’re looking forward to your responses early today. What’s the important task you’ve been putting off?
Today’s challenge will require a few minutes of your time, a piece of paper, a pencil, and a little bit of brain power.
List the top five richest people in the world.
List the last five Nobel Peace Prize winners.
List the top five individual contributors to cancer research.
Hard to do, maybe? That’s okay.
Now, list five people who have taught you something.
List five people that have had an impact on your life.
List five people who have helped you through a rough spot in the past.
Much easier to do, right?
Your challenge is to choose one of the people listed in the second half of the exercise, and write and mail (email, postal) a letter explaining the impact on your life that he or she has made.
The goal is to help you focus on what is really important.
If you think this exercise is interesting, please share it with your friends! We are really close to our goal of 1,000 people joining this month’s challenge.
Also, tell us who you contacted and what media you used to do so!
Today’s Challenge: Personal Reflection, Meditation, Prayer
Our world is filled with busyness, schedules, people and noise. It’s a rare moment when we sit in complete silence. How often is it so quiet during your day that you can hear your own thoughts?
Turn off the tv. Turn off the radio. Put down the phone. Just. Be. Still.
At some point during this day, find a time to be alone. Even better, find a place to be alone out in nature. Close your eyes. Listen to the sounds around you.
Use this time alone to reflect on your thoughts. Use it for prayer. Use it to prepare positively for the upcoming week.
If you’d like to share with us, we’d like to know what you thought about and how you felt.
We’re kicking this week off with a challenge that will take you 3 minutes 31 seconds + a little bit more! Watch this video “20 Things We Should Say More Often” featuring Kid President.
If possible, watch this as early in your day as you can.
Jot down the things that YOU want to say more often today and every day.
Put that note somewhere you will see it as much as possible today. Make it the background on your phone, tape it to the dashboard in your car, write a few phrases on your hand.
Then make a point to say those things as much as you can today.
Watch how your attitude and the attitude of those around you change.
What are a few of the things you are going to say more often?
At any given moment, approximately how many emails are in your inbox? Take a guess. 10? 100? More than that? A chaotic inbox is an indicator of a chaotic brain.
According to Merlin Mann, productivity expert, when an inbox becomes a to-do list, productivity suffers. It suffers because time and attention are finite. We only have so much of both.
Today’s challenge is to empty your inbox. Completely. Whoa. Hold up. Don’t freak out. This doesn’t mean that you delete all emails. It simply means that you organize your emails (that need to be kept) and clean out your inbox.
Use folders as a filing system.
Create folders for travel, projects, “read later”, activities, etc.
Sort your inbox by sender. This will make your task much easier for the next step.
Be hardcore about deleting. Have you read it and responded? Gone. Is it a “fluff” email? Gone. Is it a newsletter? Gone. Unless it has critical information that you will need to reference at a later date…Gone.
Repeat this daily. Doing so makes your inbox much more manageable; it will be less-time consuming after this initial purge.
Can you imagine the feeling of “Ahhhhh!” you’ll have when you finish this? Clear inbox, clear brain.
Happy Sorting & Deleting! Share with us how you feel before (when you first read this challenge) and after (when you’ve completed it)!
We do our best to be positive people, but today we want you to focus on the negative – and we want you to get physical while doing it.
Your challenge for today is to pick an exercise and focus on the negative movement of the exercise. This is also known as eccentric exercise.
For example, say you pick sit-ups for your exercise. Instead of focusing on moving from your back to the upright position, concentrate on the movement that takes you from being upright down to your back. Make this movement as slow as possible.
Another example is a push-up. Instead of focusing on the movement of being down with bent arms to being up with straight arms, focus on the movement going from plank position with straight arms to being down with bent arms. Again, complete the movement as slow as possible. Try to make it last for at least 10 seconds.
If you don’t normally exercise, that’s ok. Today you will! Pick anything you like that involves moving weight. It can be your own body weight or you can add free weights.
It won’t take you long to realize the benefits of focusing on the negative portion of the movement. There are actually many studies that indicate that focusing on the negative movement of an exercise is much more beneficial that focusing on the positive.
You can pick any movement that you want to do, but just in case you need some ideas here are a few:
Today is Sept. 11th. We all remember what happened this day in 2001, even those that live outside of the United States. The world changed that day.
Your challenge for today is simple, but two-fold.
The first part: Remember. Remember the lives lost. Remember the families that lost loved ones. Remember all of the men and women that have given their lives to protect the freedoms we enjoy.
The second part: Make your remembrance impactful by performing one simple Random Act of Kindness (RAOK) today.
Share with us your thoughts, memories, kindness ideas and other sentiments as we reflect on this day.
Have you ever taken 10 minutes to write about how you’re feeling, what you would like to accomplish, or even something that frustrates you?
No? Well we have good news! Today you get to!
Your challenge for today is to take 10 minutes and write. The goal is to help you understand the benefits of journaling. You won’t realize the real benefits unless you make it a habit, but even one day is beneficial.
Journaling clears our minds, helps us work through our emotions, reduces stress and helps us learn. Consider this. According to the American Psychological Association,
The research, published in the September issue of APA’s Journal of Experimental Psychology: General (JEP: General) (Vol. 130, No. 3), indicates that expressive writing reduces intrusive and avoidant thoughts about negative events and improves working memory. These improvements, researchers believe, may in turn free up our cognitive resources for other mental activites, including our ability to cope with stress more effectively.
You can write about anything you’d like. You can write about your feelings. You can write about your dreams, your goals, your passions. Write about how you hope your day goes today and what you hope to accomplish. Write about something that happened today that frustrated you.
There are no rules other than… just write. Write about whatever comes to mind. And it’s ok if you go past 10 minutes!
Our lives are busy. We are constantly rushing around from one thing to the next. This busyness causes us to worry or think about our next task instead of focusing completely on our current task.
Unfortunately, this flows right into the things we enjoy most. We go to dinner with the family and we are thinking about the things we have to do when we get home. We go to our children’s soccer games and we’re thinking about work. We sit down to watch some television with our spouse and we’re thinking about what we have to get done tomorrow morning.
Constantly worrying about the next thing causes us to miss the enjoyment of the moment we are in.
Your challenge for today is to be in the moment. Obviously it’s best to do this as often as you can, but for today pick one task or event and commit to being completely in the moment. Work as hard as you can to turn off work, chores, the next item on the calendar, the people buzzing you on your phone, etc… All of that will be waiting for you when you’re done.
Whatever you choose, focus complete on what’s going on: the conversation, the tastes, the sounds, the smells, the smiles. Be in the moment. Enjoy being in the moment.
Be spontaneous! Play a game from your childhood together (croquet, badminton, hide and seek). Go for a bike ride.
Have fun and be youthful and playful together. Remember why you fell in love in the first place!
(If you aren’t in a relationship, grab your friend, your child and just have fun!)
Whatever fun thing you choose to do today, snap a picture and share it with us here!
We are so happy we get to do this month-long set of challenges with you! Reflect on your the first half of this challenge. What has been your favorite? With which one did you find the most success or change so far? Repeat it!
Commit to a tech-free night. Later this evening, turn off your cell phone, computer, tv, even the lights.
Wavelengths emitted by electronics, tv, and smart phones suppress melatonin. Melatonin is the hormone that signals sleep.
When you commit to a tech-free night, you’ll not only have the opportunity to connect with your spouse or your family or your friends on a deeper level, but you’re setting yourself up for a better night’s sleep.
Turn it all off. Shut it all down. Use your imagination to see what’s left to do.
Have you even considered the power of your smile? You’ve heard the studies about chocolate being a great brain stimulant, but did you know that 1 smile can stimulate the brain as much as 2000 bars of chocolate?
Here’s your challenge for today.
1. Watch the video below. It’s 7 minutes 23 seconds and talks about the hidden power of a smile.
2. When you’re done, do this little experiment. Walk up to someone in your family and smile. I guarantee they will smile back. You can even tell them what you’re doing and challenge them to keep themselves from smiling. Just hold your smile for a few seconds and watch them fight it.
We do this with our son a lot. He tries so hard to fight the smile, even walking away to avoid it, but in the end he’s smiling and laughing. It’s so much fun to watch!
We are all about becoming Better Today Than Yesterday – and a smile will help you do just that.
Have fun with this challenge and remember the power of a smile.
Today’s challenge is for husbands and wives, or those in a relationship.
Wives, your husbands are constantly seeking the answer to this question: “Do I have what it takes?”.
Your challenge is to answer that question for him. And answer it as much as possible. He needs to hear that you believe in him and that he has your support when he leaves every day to “slay his dragons”.
Husbands, your wives are constantly seeking the answer to this question: “Do you see me?”. Your challenge is to answer that question for her. And answer it as much as possible. She needs to know that you see her for who and all she is.
We tend to go through our day sabotaging ourselves with negative self-talk and negative thoughts.
Today your challenge is to affirm yourself with positive thoughts.
Take out a 3×5 card or a piece of paper and write an affirmation on it. We’re not talking “Stewart Smally” affirmations (although people DO like you). Saying something like, “I am a strong person.” is ok, but if you don’t really believe that, your psyche knows you’re lying to yourself.
Instead, write an affirmation that talks about what you’re dedicated to becoming, about what you’re committed to doing. “I am committed to speaking positively to everyone I come into contact with today because I know it will cause me to be a more positive person.” “I’m dedicated to exercising today because I know it will make me more healthy, give me more energy, cause me to feel better about myself, and help me be more productive.”
Start your affirmation with something like:
I am committed to…
I am dedicated to…
I am defined by…
Then fill in the blank and add a reason. Make it positive. Make it something that makes you proud of yourself. Make it something that you’re excited about becoming or doing.
Look at that card at least 3 times today. To help you remember, take it out every time you eat and read it 2 or 3 times. (Hint: You don’t have to stop after today!)
Let us know what your affirmation for today is! It may help someone come up with their own.
Today’s challenge may feel like it’s coming out of left field, so hang in there with us.
We’re about 9 weeks out from the start of the holiday season. This means that the most joyful, but craziest and a lot of times stressful times of the year will feel like it will be here tomorrow.
So, in order to set ourselves up for a successful holiday season, we need to get our minds right. We need to make a plan.
Jim Rohn – entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker – says, “Either you run the day or the day runs you.”
Your challenge today is to make your holiday plan. If you’re married or in a relationship, sit down with each other and your calendar – and talk through your travel plans, visits, events, family, who’s hosting what, gift ideas, and especially your budget.
When you do this, you will be better prepared for the upcoming months. You will have less stress and less anxiety about all of the things that need to be accomplished. You will find more joy because you have planned. You will run your day….More importantly, you will run your holiday season.
What is your biggest holiday struggle? What are you really looking forward to within this holiday season? We want to hear about your planning too!
God designed your marriage so that you would know your spouse better than anyone else. You know the struggles and the things that your spouse stresses about daily.
Are there things that you wish you could fix for your spouse, but can do nothing about? Sometimes when all is said and done, there really is nothing you can do.
Except for one thing.
Today, take some time and pray for your spouse. Examples of things to pray for:
Your own relationship
Your spouse’s relationship with others
Your spouse’s work
Your spouse’s own prayer life
Your spouse’s relationship with your kids
Your spouse’s physical health, emotional health, spiritual health
There are no rules or rights and wrongs when it comes to praying. Just pray for those things you know your spouse needs help.
Are you really who you think you are?
Today’s challenge will take less than 2 minutes. Click here to read about and to analyze who you really are.
Stretch Yourself to Do Something Different
Average standards lead to an average life. Those with higher standards have the opportunity to lead outstanding, incredible lives. We often hear how we need to “get out of our comfort zone”, and today’s challenge involves just that.
Identify something within your day – an opportunity – that you typically would not grasp. Then reach for it and do it!
This can be something as small as calling someone who you are afraid to call or speaking to someone you’ve never met. It could be identifying something you are on fire about and speaking about it in front of a group. It can be learning a new skill or a new way of doing something you have done all of your life. It can be finding a group where you can volunteer and learning while helping others.
The point is this: Stretch yourself at least once today – past what is average. When an opportunity arises where you can do something you’ve not done before, answer “yes”.
In everything possible today, stand while doing it. When you take a phone call, answer a text, work on your computer, watch tv – get up, move around and stand.
According to Tom Rath, author of “Eat, Move, Sleep”, “Sitting is the most underrated health threat of our modern times….On a global level, inactivity now kills more people than smoking.”
The book goes on to say that studies are showing sitting too much increases your risk of an early death, decreases enzyme production which contributes to fat gain and obesity, shuts off electrical activity in your leg muscles and generally affects your overall health.
Bottom line – get up and move as much as possible. When the text comes in, stand up. When the phone call comes in, stand up. When you’re working, stand up – even if it’s not the “norm” and coworkers ask you what you’re doing. You can simply say “I’m working on extending my life.”
Where did you find yourself standing today – where you typically don’t?
(Photo courtesy of dansplan.com)
Today’s challenge is all about the food. With every meal, find a way that you can add in some type of green vegetable. Examples include: broccoli, spinach, cucumbers, green onions, asparagus, and kale.
Image for Avocado Egg Scramble
Vegetables, especially green ones, are loaded with iron and calcium, and calorie-for-calorie are some of the most nutrient-dense foods around. By consuming green vegetables, you can decrease your chance of developing many diseases.
Don’t like green vegetables? Try hiding them in a chocolate banana smoothie. It’s loaded with spinach…that you can’t even taste. Here’s the recipe.
And if you don’t have cacao or agave, use cocoa and a little honey, maple syrup or stevia.
Your body is a machine that, if given the proper fuel, will work at its full capacity. You can make a difference in your health and in your life by making tiny little changes. Today’s challenge with green vegetables is a great place to start!
My favorite number is 42. Any time I exaggerate, it comes out as 42 times, 420 minutes or 42,000 people.
So, we’re going to have a little fun with today’s challenge. Your task today is to walk up to your guy or girl and lay on the biggest kiss you can…for 42 seconds.
Kissing keeps us healthy, keeps us attached and increases our feelings of good – which leads to doing good for ourselves and others – and it’s fun!Have fun with today’s challenge! Jump out from nowhere and surprise him or her with all you have. You never know…it could change the whole tune of the day or the evening!
Have you ever had month left at the end of your money? Us too! It’s stressful when that happens and leads to tension in your marriage and in your family. Do you want to avoid that situation next month?
Then take today’s challenge. It’s tough, but it’s rewarding. Your challenge for today is to write out your budget for October.
Grab a piece of paper or create a spreadsheet and plan out how you will spend every cent of your money next month. If you’re married, sit down with your spouse and do it.
Doing this will take a little time and effort, but when you’re done there will be a feeling of relief. And you won’t go through next month just waiting to run out of money again. You’ll go through the month feeling a sense of freedom.
If you haven’t done this before, don’t freak out. Creating and maintaining a budget is a learning process. You won’t get it right the first time, but like anything – the more you do it, the better you’ll get at it.
If you need a starting point, here’s a link to a budget similar to what Taryn and I use.
Our budget is set up on Google docs. We can both work on it together no matter where we are. Taryn jokes that Google calendar and docs saved our marriage. While it is a joke, there’s a lot of truth to that. By keeping a calendar and a budget that both of us can view and edit from anywhere, we have very few instances where our wires get crossed therefore causing conflict. We always know what’s going on, where we’re going and how much money is budgeted for it.
If, after checking out our budget, you find that it’s not your style, that’s okay. Try searching around on Dave Ramsey’s website for more ideas.
Don’t get hung up on the template or format. Do something that works for you. The challenge isn’t to have something that looks nice and perfect. The challenge is to get your budget on “paper”.