Day 29 – Take the day off

Today is Day 29 of Live A Better Life in 30 Days Challenge.

Day 29 is about giving yourself a break, to reward yourself, to relax and recharge.

I didn’t expect this as today’s task, but I certainly like it.

I took the time to explore the new The Personal Excellence Forums(TPEF) that Celes just created today in response to the interest in building an online community and providing a place for the 30DLBL challenge participants and like-minded people to stay connected.

An organized life

The following article of mine was published in the e-newsletter “Dollar Stretcher Tips”  on June 14, 2010 [Volume 15, Number 24]. It’s available on the website.

Keeping an organized life with three-ring binders

I love three-ring binders. They are a lifesaver for me. I use them to keep an organized life. I also use them to help my kids keep an organized life.

I use three-ring binders and sheet protectors to keep related items together. For example:

  • My published articles in newspapers or magazines
  • All the appliance manuals
  • Retirement and financial statements
  • Recipes

For each of my two children, I gave them a three-ring binder with plastic sleeves when they were born. I have been building a portfolio for each of them.

Each binder contains important documents from the birth to present, such as birth certificate, graduation certificate, school report cards, test results, yearbooks, awards, letters from teachers, etc.

My son’s first binder was full when he finished fifth grade at age 11. So when he started sixth grade last year, I gave him a new binder. The transition from elementary to middle school was the perfect time to start a new binder.

I have a few binders that contain all of their birthday or school pictures. Another binder contains all current information about their after school activities, practice and game schedules for sport. The binder keeps all papers in one place and is handy when I need to know quickly when and what about their activities.

When my kids grow up and leave home, each will have a portfolio to take with them. Their life will be summarized in a few binders, neatly and orderly.

Qin Tang is a librarian and writer (columnist, blogger). She has a passion for healthy, green, simple, frugal, mindful and soulful living.

Day 27 – Letting go

Today is Day 27 of Live A Better Life in 30 Days Challenge.

Day 27 is about letting go. If we want to live better lives, we need to let go of things that are holding us back and limiting us before we can move on, receive and embrace new things. When we let go of the past and the old baggage, we open the door for the new possibilities to enter into our life.

This is a great task. It is an important step in our journey of personal growth. 

We all have something we need to let go. I need to let go a lot of physical stuff in the house, and regrets, hurts, pain, resentment, and anger in my mind.

From my experience, it’s easier said than done. It’s easier to know and understand than to act. Letting go requires a great deal of soul searching, a willingness and determination to change for the better.

Ultimately, letting go, forgetting and forgiving benefits ourselves more than anyone else. It is one of the best gifts we can give to ourselves.

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Day 26 – Create your bucket list

Today is Day 26 of Live A Better Life in 30 Days Challenge.

Day 26 is about creating your bucket list.

Celes explains well what a bucket list is: It is a wish list of all the goals you want to achieve, dreams you want to fulfill and life-experiences you desire to experience before you die. Having a bucket list reminds you of what’s really important so you can act on them. 

Now what are the things I want to achieve, do, see, feel and experience in life before I die, if I have unlimited time, money and resources?

  1. Be generous to others and to myself
  2. Establish a scholarship, in honor of my favorite high school teacher
  3. See my family members embark their spiritual jouneys 
  4. See my kids grow up and live a happy and successful live
  5. Take writing classes
  6. Write and publish a book 
  7. On the bestseller list
  8. Publish in Newsweek
  9. Join a writers club
  10. Keep journaling every day
  11. Write every day
  12. Interview anyone I want to (mostly authors and leaders)
  13. Help and encourage my daughter to become a writer
  14. Join a book club again
  15. More all the books I want to read
  16. Develop better public speaking skills
  17. Live a simple life
  18. Become a minimalist
  19. Downsize and declutter
  20. Grow in my faith
  21. Read through the Bible
  22. Speak in tongues
  23. Meet some soul friends
  24. Visit Germany again
  25. Pick up my German language skills again
  26. Develop psychic ability
  27. Learn more about energy healing
  28. Holistic approach to health
  29. Start doing yoga and meditation regularly
  30. Go on a meditation retreat 
  31. Create an inspirational space for myself
  32. Go on a spiritual woman’s retreat
  33. Be an inspiration for others
  34. Help someone in need
  35. Eat more organic food
  36. Go on a cruise
  37. Play a musical instrument
  38. Take up dancing
  39. Walk more every day
  40. Bike again
  41. Be a better swimmer
  42. Connect more with Mother Nature
  43. Camp out in the wilds
  44. Learn to bake better
  45. Become a vegan
  46. Juicing for better health [That’s for today, one for every year of my life. I am sure I can add more to make it to 101 when I have more time to think about it.]
  47. Write a letter to my kids (every year)
  48. Say an encouraging word to someone or send a positive comment to someone I know or don’t know at least once a day

Day 25 – Meditation

Today is Day 25 of Live A Better Life in 30 Days Challenge.

Day 25 is about meditation. One of my life goals I wrote for Day 6 is learning to meditate.  So today’s task is just what I need.

I read the following articles by Celes:

  • Part 1: 10 Reasons You Should Meditate
  • Part 2: How To Meditate In 5 Easy Steps
  • Part 3: Vipassana Meditation 10-Day Course
  • 21 Days To Cultivate Life Transforming Habits
  • Celes shared many benefits of meditation – clearing out mental clutter, purifying our mind and body, raising our consciousness, increasing concentration ability, being present to the moment, healing, visualizing the future, communicating with our subconsciousness, inner calmness and peace.

    I will definitely try meditation so I can experience the wonderful benefits.

    Day 24 – Uncovering your beliefs

    Today is Day 24 of Live A Better Life in 30 Days Challenge.

    Day 24 is about examining our beliefs and understanding how they came about.

    Our beliefs came from our past experiences. The inner dialogue we have are rooted in our beliefs. If we want to eliminate our negative self talk, we need to uncover and uproot the beliefs that give rise to those negative thoughts.

    What are some of my beliefs that I need to clear out of my mind?

    One that comes to my mind quickly is this – I have to keep everything. Almost everything can be used or reused.  Getting rid of stuff is a waste of money. It makes me feel guilty. This belief leads to accumulation and clutter.

    Why do I think this way? Where does the belief come from?

    • Poverty during childhood
    • Difficulty with letting things go
    • My wish to be resourceful, frugal and responsible

    I know it is not good to hold on to this belief. My new belief should be:

    Every item serves a purpose. If it’s no longer useful to me, I should let it go. Holding on to it will only cause more clutter and stress. 

    I’ll think more about it when I have time.

    This belief

    Day 23 – Inner dialogue

    Today is Day 23 of Live A Better Life in 30 Days Challenge.

    Day 23 is about examining our self-talk, the inner conversation we have with ourselves that is running inside our heads all the time. Doing so will help us become aware and conscious of both the positive and negative thoughts. By uncovering and addressing our negative thoughts and increasing positive thoughts, we can do better and live better lives.

    Why is it important to have positive thoughts? Here is the answer:

    “Be careful of your thoughts, for your thoughts become your words.

    Be careful of your words, for your words become your actions.

    Be careful of your actions, for your actions become your habits.

    Be careful of your habits, for your habits become your character.

    Be careful of your character, for your character becomes your destiny.”

     Author unknown

    I think I am more on the porsitive side as a whole. My self talk is probably about 60/40 on positive and negative sides. Some days, when I feel good, I have more positive thoughts. Other days,  when I am down, I have more negative thoughts.

    This is an excellent exercise to do. If we take the time to uncover and write down all of our negative thoughts, especially those that are deep rooted and keep coming up in our heads, we can release them and let them go. Once we have decluttered our mind, we can have more space to embrace the positive thoughts. That’s when our mind will become more clear and our creativity will flourish.

    This exercise reminds me of the morning pages I did while reading “The Artist’s Way: a Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity” by Julia Cameron four years ago. It was very help. It changed my life in some way. 

    Day 22 – Advice from your future self

    Today is Day 22 of Live A Better Life in 30 Days Challenge.

    Day 22 is about getting the best advice on how to live your best life from someone who knows you the best, Your Future Self.

    I like what Celes said: “The reason why I love this exercise is because it takes you out of the present-situation perspective, and puts you in the role of the mentor, the adviser, someone who is supposed to know the answers. And you do know the answers. You know all the answers you seek. If you allow yourself to fill that capacity, if you learn to tap into that source in you, you can get all the answers you want, and achieve everything you want to achieve.”

    I heard about this kind of exercise, but have never done it. It will take me some time and thoughts to do it.

    10/14/2010 update

    I have been thinking about this in the last 2-3 weeks. Finally I came to the answer  I was looking for when I was reading about John Maxwell’s new book ” Everyone Communicates, Few Connect: What the Most Effective People Do Differently” and came upon this phrase: “Connectors inspire people to move from ‘know how’ to ‘do now.’

    Move from “know how” to “do now” to “wow.”

    That is probably the best advise my future self can give me. And if I take it to heart and follow it, I will live a better life as the result.

    As someone who loves to read, learn and grow, I find myself pretty knowledgeable about a lot of things – what I should do, how I should do it. But knowing more doesn’t necessarily make me a wiser person. If I don’t put what I know into practice, if I only keep knowledge in my head and don’t show it in my action, what good is the knowledge?

    I know my life would be far better if I do what I know I should do. If I can move from “know how” to “do now,” my life would result in “Wow! what a wonderful life!”

    It’s all up to myself to break through and move forward, instead of being stuck in the “know how” stage.

    Day 21 – An act of kindness

    Today is Day 21 of Live A Better Life in 30 Days Challenge.

    Day 21 is about doing acts of kindness to others. How can we extend a helping hand to someone in need or simply offer an expression of love/kindness/gratitude to others.

    I usually write my blog and check Celes’ blog late at night after my kids go to bed. So I don’t see the 30DLBL challenge tasks until the day is almost over (I know that’s not the ideal timing).  

    Today’s task is to do an act of kindness to 5 People. It’s too late to do anything new now, but reflecting back on my day, here are five acts of kindness I did.

    • I am part of the planning committee that organized the 2nd Annual Minnesota State Capitol Run @ Work Day 5K event last Friday. Today we had a post event evaluation meeting.  At the meeting we expressed our appreciation for the leadership that our committee chair demonstrated. Afterwards I emailed her and told her: “You really deserve a lot of credit and praise.” She responded with: “Friendship makes prosperity more shining and lessens adversity by dividing and sharing it.” (Carl Jung) Thank you for being my friend.”
    • I nominated Celes Chua, the person behind the 30DLBL Challenge and the Personal Excellence Blog, to be one of the world’s top 30 coaching gurus on this coaching gurus website, also linked with this leadership gurus website. I think some day she will be on the same stage/page with John Maxwell, Stephen Covery, etc.
    • A friend has a family emergency and will be out of the country for 10 days. He asked for help. I will drive his daughter home after school because she has no bus service. I offered to do more, to have his kids eat dinner at my house, to drive them to their activities if needed. But he said just driving his daughter home from school is a big help. I was really glad I can help him in times of need.
    • I am organizing a private art class for my kids and kids of some friends. Over the last 10 days, I emailed people I know, asking for recommendations, I found the teacher, did all the emails back and forth with him, set up the time and tuition, contacted parents who are interested. Tonight I am still working on finalizing the schedule and payment. It took me a fare amount of time and effort to get this all organized. I did this for my kids, but also for other kids, so they can also benefit.
    • I called my parents in China to wish them a Happy Moon Festival (on 9/22/2010). I also let them know that a friend’s father passed away today and asked them to call to express their condolence.      

    That was my list of 5.

    In January 2010 I did the 29-Day Giving Challenge after I read the book titled “29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change your Life.” Every day during the month, I tried to do an act of kindness.

    Now I keep doing it consciously or unconsciously.