Spring into Happiness – oh yea. ‘Tis the Season! | Elements of Happiness

Spring into Happiness – oh yea. ‘Tis the Season! | Elements of Happiness

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Goal Setting for the New Year – Girlfriend Advice on going after your Dreams

Goal Setting for the New Year – Girlfriend Advice on going after your Dreams

new year,dreams,goals,girlfriendsAnother New Year, and still time for small dreams to come true. (unknown)

One of the seriously awesome thing about true friends is how they support you and your dreams. (Can I hear an ‘Amen!’?!) Those girlfriends who always see the beauty in you, believe in you, want the best for you – they’re worth their weight in homemade toffee.

As we get ready for the New Year, now is that special time of year to define our goals for the coming year.

We’re not talking New Year’s Resolutions, those are good for helping us work on habits – like exercising more, reading more, and spending more time with our girlfriends. But we’re talking BIG (Hairy Audacious) Goals. The kind of goals that you’re almost afraid to dream. The challenge to do something, as Oprah says in her new Weight Watchers ads: ‘If not now, when?’

So here’s our Girlfriend Advice on setting goals for the coming new year:

  1. DREAM BIG – I don’t want to live a so-so life, and I don’t want my friends to either. We get one life and I want to live it (and want you to live it) BIG. When you’re awake at night and think about your dreams, what idea/business/challenge do you wish you could see happen? Run a marathon? Quit your job? Write a book? What’s your BIG DREAM? Let’s figure out how to make it happen – this year!
  2. SET SMART GOALS – There’s a SMART system to setting goals. Follow these guidelines: SMART = Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-Bound. Here are some examples:
    1. Specific: I want to write the outline and first three chapters of my book by March 1. (Exactly WHAT you’re going to do and by WHEN.)
    2. Measurable: Earn 20% more on your blog than you did last year. Gives you something to track the numbers!
    3. Attainable: Lose 10 pounds in two months. That’s attainable on a diet. (Losing 10 pounds in a week probably is not!)
    4. Realistic: Setting a goal of getting paid $10,000 as a professional speaker, and never have spoken in public before just may not be realistic. In that case, maybe make a goal of joining a Toastmaster’s group and getting a speaking gig to move toward your professional speaking career.
    5. Time-Bound: This may be the most important aspect of setting goals – having a deadline. To run a marathon by Labor Day, or start your Etsy story by March 1, or sign up for Spanish classes before your trip this summer. Give your goal a completion date and track your progress in making it happen.
  3. SHARE WITH A FRIEND – But not just any friend. Dreams are very fragile and require special handling. BIG dreams are best to be shared with a girlfriend who believes in you even more than you believe in yourself. Ask her to help you stay on track and on schedule. Give her permission to keep you accountable. If she’s comfortable sharing too, ask her what her BIG dreams are for the coming new year and help her reach those goals.

Like LL Cool J says Stay focused, go after your dreams and keep moving toward your goals.

Let’s make this THE YEAR that we go after our Dreams. What are yours? Who are you going to share them with? Remember … if not now, when?! GO FOR IT!

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More for the New Year:

 

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45 Life Lessons – things Girlfriends Share. What Life Lessons can YOU share?

45 Life Lessons – things Girlfriends Share. What Life Lessons can YOU share?

Thankfully, we learn so much from our girlfriends.

45 Life Lessons for GirlfriendsFrom how to wear make-up and do our hair when we’re young, to how to take care of our parents when they’re old, from girlfriend advice on a job or relationship, to tips on how to save money or raise children – we’ve got our own personal ‘advisory board’ with our best friends. And, we totally believe that ‘girlfriend therapy’ is right up there with ‘retail therapy!’

We’re amazing, lucky women to have each other – and to share life and life lessons with. Following are 45 ‘Life Lessons’ that my girlfriend Margye shared with me and I thought I should share with you. Kinda helps keep everything in a great perspective. (I did have to add something to #21!)  What life lessons can you add?

1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Change the way you think.

4. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and family will. Stay in touch.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.

8. Release your children when they become adults, it’s their life now.

9. Save for retirement starting with your first pay check.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.

12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye.

16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

17. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.

18. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.

19. It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie (drink the good wine!). Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

22. Just because you believe you are right, doesn’t mean you are. Keep an open mind.

23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words ‘In five years, will this matter?’

27. Always choose life.

28. Forgive everyone everything.

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

33. Believe in miracles.

34. Your job is to love your children, not choose who they should love.

35. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

36. Growing old beats the alternative — dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood.

38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.

41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

42. The best is yet to come…

43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

44. Yield.

45. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.”

What life lessons can you add?

More Life Lessons – like: Save the earth! It’s the only planet with Chocolate! 🙂

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Girlfriend Book Club … not so fun? Tips to Improve Book Club Night

Girlfriend Book Club … not so fun? Tips to Improve Book Club Night

Is your girlfriend book club beginning to get a little stale?

Are you worried that it might not last through another bestseller? Then it’s time to take some steps towards making your women’s book club fun and something that your girlfriends look forward to each month.

Girlfriend Book Club tips

There are no faster or firmer friendships than those formed between people who love the same books.” Irving Stone

I love my book club. We have so much fun eating, drinking and talking – that we sometimes ALMOST forget to talk about the book. Even though this girlfriend get-together is a blast, there are always opportunities to make it even more fun – right?! So, here are 7 Tips to Improve Book Club Night:

1. Branch Out – People make the mistake of sticking to books that are on the bestseller list. Branch out. Read classics. Read books written by independent authors. Read the book a friend has been raving about. Don’t limit your choices. More importantly, give everyone a chance to pick a book by alternating who picks each month or have everyone write down their choice and pick next month’s book from a hat.

2. Create a Themed Menu of Snacks and Drinks – People are more apt to have fun when there are drinks and snacks involved. Things are even more fun when you create snacks and drinks that revolve around the book’s theme. For example, if you’re reading a book set in Kentucky serve a bourbon-based cocktail and bourbon pecan pie. (For the book, The Help, one of my neighbors brought chocolate pie to Book Club! What a scream! For more ideas, read ‘Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons‘ by Lorna Landvik – very fun read about girlfriends in a book club.)

3. Watch the Movie – Another great tip is to choose book club books that have a movie and then watch the movie during the meeting or, if it is a current movie, go to the theatre together. You can then compare the two by discussing the actor choices, how close the movie stuck to the story line, etc.

4. Have Giveaways – Everyone loves giveaways and you don’t have to give away expensive stuff. It can be some cheap paperbacks you picked up at the local dollar store, bookmarks, $5 Amazon gift cards, etc. You could then give away items during the discussion or you could even have a contest on who brought the best snack to the meeting.

5. Swap Books – Chances are all the book club members read a lot of books each month. Why not do a book swap during the book club meeting each month? This is a great way for everyone to get more books to read without spending any money. (Note: my book club also does a magazine swap every Summer. We all get to try new magazines and take a summer vacation from reading a required book.)

6. Choose Fun Discussion Topics – Last, but not least, choose fun discussion topics. Talk about the sexy hero. Discuss who would make a great cast for a movie version. Talk about any loose ends and how you think the author should tie them up in the next book, etc. Just have fun with it and don’t stick to the discussion guide you found in the book or online. It should be fun, not an assignment.

7. Bring a New Friend Night – Our Fave, of course, is to make it a very social evening and invite other women to join you. They can choose to read the book or not, and may get out of bringing an appetizer or dessert (or whatever guidelines you have for eating at book club!). It’s just fun to meet new friends and to have new conversations with new women.

Your girlfriend book club doesn’t have to be boring. There are so many easy tricks you can use to make the meetings more fun. Whether it’s talking about the intriguing characters in the books or turning each meeting into a book swap, you can definitely improve your women’s book club.

More Book Club inspiration:

 

A True Friend is Worth … | Girlfriends vs. Feeling ‘Unfriendable’

A True Friend is Worth … | Girlfriends vs. Feeling ‘Unfriendable’

There’s some talk lately on women feeling ‘unfriendable.’

one loyal friend quoteSeems a lot of women don’t feel like they have many friends, or have no new friends from the last decade or so. Busy schedules, jobs and families, too much to do and too little time … all contribute to a friend-less or friend-poor life. Lack of trust or self-confidence, insecurities and scars of failed friendship, cause us to shy away from new friends. We have our ‘Facebook Friends’ but they’re not there IRL (in real life) sometimes. We have social connections, but will they pick up our prescription when we’re sick or offer a shoulder when life brings tears? Will these online friends know that we’re going through hard times just by our tweets or that we’re struggling with finances or relationships just by a “frowny face”? 🙁

One loyal friend is worth ten thousand relatives. – Euripides

Research shows that female friendship makes us healthier, happier, less stressed, live longer and feel more beautiful. REALLY! It’s the opposite of being ‘unfriendable,’ it’s the choice of being there for your friends, of being open to friends, to actively being ‘friendly,’ to recognizing the amazing blessing of friends in our lives.

Friendship – It is a CHOICE. I know it’s tough. I know your schedule is a mess and a stress. I know you have way too much stuff on your plate and way too little time to be the parent, partner, employee, etc. that you’d really like to be.

Girlfriends – It’s a CHOICE. It’s taking, making time to phone a friend. It’s putting time with your girlfriends on your calendar – be it a girlfriend book club or starting a girlfriend tradition, giving more thoughtful girlfriend gifts (that show that you care, that you would take time and be thoughtful for them). It’s deciding that you want to be a better friend.

Just think about this … relationships sometimes come and go more than we desire or plan. Jobs do the same. Kids grow up. Families always change. Soccer season ends. People move away. Differences happen.

If you’re lucky … if you’re really, REALLY lucky … you’ll have FRIENDS by your side through all the other changes in life.

Want a FRIEND? Be a Friend! Choose not to be ‘unfriendable.’ Make the effort. Spend the time. Show an interest. Find a new friend. I know … You’ll be so glad you did.

Still feel ‘unfriendable?’ I hope not. But we’d love for you to share your thoughts in the comments below. We want to be your friend!

This week on Girlfriendology:

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5 Mistakes to Avoid to have Great Friendships

5 Mistakes to Avoid to have Great Friendships

silence of our friendsI want to be the friend who’s there for my girlfriends, don’t you? If so, you probably don’t want to be silent when they need someone to speak up, or not there when we should be the friend who is there for them.

In the end, we will remember, not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” Martin Luther-King

I want to be the friend (and you must too if you’re here on Girlfriendology) who doesn’t make these friendship mistakes (but I have, so I’m trying to improve and be a better friend):

1. Not giving her the benefit of the doubt – Let’s start with the BIG friendship mistake. Did she say something bitchy or behind your back? Was she not there when you needed her to be? Did you hear something she said/did that hurt your feelings? STOP RIGHT THERE. She’s been your friend for a long time and through a lot of stuff, right?! Maybe she had a bad day, was misquoted or misunderstood the situation. If she’s been there for you for years, and through ‘stuff,’ give her the benefit of the doubt. Trust that she is there for you. Don’t come to conclusions looking at the negative. Girlfriends are there for each other. Be there for her – no matter what your first impression is.

2. Taking sides. Let’s be serious about friendships. If they’re good girlfriends, they’re worth getting away from the silliness of taking sides. Just be there for each other. Don’t team up with each other. Conspire on the behalf of your true friends. Stay on her side when she needs you.

3. Too busy to spend time together. Time. The most valuable gift we can give our girlfriends. “The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time,” said James Taylor. Pass time together – spend time together – be there for your friends. Make take for your girlfriends. Don’t make this mistake!

4. Choosing to be with ‘the guy.’ Sure, being in a romantic relationship can lead to some ‘friendship challenges.’ We want to be there for them and there for our friends. A true friend values the friend who doesn’t change, no matter whom she dates. A real partner will understand and value that you have your own life and your own friends.

5. Playing games. Let’s be the realistic girlfriend. Women can be catty, mean, unfair, unkind. Girlfriends can do all the above – choose who they’re dating over their friends, be ‘too busy,’ take sides or not give her the benefit of the doubt. We can play bogus games or take each other for granted. Let’s stop the games. Let’s be there for each other.

Do you make these friendship mistakes? Do you wish you had better friendships? Well, it’s not that hard – just be a better friend and avoid these friendship mistakes. Life’s too short to not be a better friend. We girlfriends need to be here for each other. We need to be the friends we’d love to have. We need to NOT make these friendship mistakes.

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Here’re some ways to be a better friend:

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<------- What's NEW in the Free Resource Library?

  • 150 Friendship Quotes
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  • 2 Inspirational Quote Coloring Book Pages
  • JUST ADDED: Tips to make Grocery Shopping Easier
  • Girlfriend Trip Beach Recommendations
  • Money-saving Tips & Sites
  • & more!!