So Long 2016 And Thanks For All The Fish!

So Long 2016!

So Long 2016!

Before going deep into goals for next year that you can never achieve and will 100% fall apart in the first few weeks, just take a deep breath. Let go. Now take another one. Now let go.

Only 8% of Americans are successful in keeping their new year resolutions. That is a massive failure. I understand that the new year works as a new slate for everyone. A hope to start something new, on a new calendar.

The problem with using the new year as a clean slate is that it comes and falls exactly after holidays. And holidays bring tons of inertia. And you need a larger force to move from that position of inertia. And of course, when you are drunk on a new year’s eve, it is extremely hard to get yourself to the next level of commitment. It just does not work that way.

Now if you just say, I want to do XYZ this year and be good at it, chances are likely you are going to fail.

Keeping SMART goals might help but what I want for you is to take it to the next level and live through the success of your goals, be it fitness, mental health, life changes or a new business.  

Let me explain.

The first step to achieving goals is to reflect on your life like you have never done before. (I wanted to use swear words here to make an impact, but I don’t feel comfortable so just insert your choice of words, ok?)

What? Why Reflect? I don’t even want to think about 2016. Please make it go away already!

Trust me! I know this feeling. I have the same feeling about this year. I want it to go away so bad that I don’t want to live in another 2016 ever again and chances of that are, thank God, almost 100% unlikely.

But if you don’t want another 2016, you do have to think about what made it so bad. So bad that you want to run away from your beautiful life? So bad that you want to just (add more choice words, if you want) quit everything, change your name and country and live a new life.

But, before taking these drastic steps against 2016, calm down once again. Breathe and let go!

I want to tell you about a book that I read 11 years ago to impress my now husband and then boyfriend. It is called the HitchHiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. It is a story about a regular person named Arthur Dent who is taken for a ride in the Universe by his alien friend Ford upon the destruction of our planet Earth. In that book, there is a part where the most intelligent creatures on a planet called Magrathea create the greatest computer called Deep Thought in the universe. Deep Thought is given the task of answering the ultimate question to life, the universe and everything. And after spending millions of years calculating, the answer the computer comes up with is 42.

And when everyone is outraged by this answer, Deep Thought says the question that was asked was not perfect, and he is going to create a new computer that asks the right ultimate question of the life, universe, and everything.

Now, what I want to tell you from this story is that if we don’t ask ourselves the right questions before we make resolutions and goals, we may never arrive at the answers we are looking for. We will spend lots of years trying to be healthy, trying to start our business or trying to look beautiful but if we don’t ask ourselves our reasons for these short or large quests, we will be running around in circles and not completing our goals.

So if a reflection is a must, what should we ask in our reflection exercise?

I cannot post a ton of questions in this article as it will become long and boring but let me give you a little more fun from the book (I had 42 questions prepared, get it 42!). This is getting very nerdy, I know, but it will make sense, I promise!

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Arthur Dent, the earthman from the Hitchhiker’s Guide To Galaxy, is just a normal guy going about his day to day life, not taking many risks, sometimes not remembering days because he drank too much and is at a point where his house is going to be taken away from him by the government who plans to build a bypass through it.

His alien friend, on the other hand, knows where his towel is. (Another “catchy phrase” from the book). What that implies is the alien friend knows what is going on in the universe, he knows what steps to take next.

So back to reflection. We need to know if we want to be the guy who knows where his towel is or the guy who hangs out accidentally with a guy who knows where his towel is or someone who on purpose hangs out with people who know where their towels are.

Once you know where you are and where you want to go and who to hang out with to go there, it is half the battle won. If you are by accident, with a guy who happens to know all answers, you are plain lucky. But how many people are really lucky in this world who are in the right place at the right time. Not many. Most of them who seem to be lucky are planning and plowing their way to success by calculating their next steps.

So promise me one thing. Before you make your big resolutions this year or set any goals in life, first just reflect on where you are. Then build a dreamy picture of where you want to be. And create your map of goals. Don’t look at other people and just say I want to be healthy this year. Instead, map out reasons for being healthy, identify a friend that you think you want to emulate and start hanging out with them instead of other friends who will pull you away from your goals.

 

Don’t look at successful people and say I want wealth just like them. Look inside of you, your capabilities, your current conditions and then purposefully ask the right questions to get meaningful answers that will help you set and succeed in the best goals you ever kept.

Now, I am hoping that you are still here with me and not bored to death with the nerdiness. Once you have answers to these questions, you will have a clear and realistic view of your life, your abilities, and your interests. When you have a clear vision of your life, it easier to make goals that are in line with your abilities.

We can all get excited with someone else and make goals and be happy but far more than often, it is our enthusiasm that brings us down because we did not think through before we said yes to something that we were not in line with.

I guarantee you will succeed because you would have found yours why. You would have found the biggest reason to succeed. You would have found the unique answer to your life from your computations.

Try it, and let me know in comments what you found out about yourself and what will your 2017 be looking like.

I am waiting eagerly.

 

How To Invade Space and Solve Chronic Clutter Problems in Under 10 minutes

 

I have been binge reading Gretchen Rubin’s books over the last few weeks. I started with The Happiness Project which I thought was interesting and it led me to Better Than Before. I am currently on to Happier at Home but not completed yet.

Better than Before gave me a whole new insight into who I am as a person and how I form habits or why sometimes I declare something and then never act upon it.

The Theory of Broken Windows

In Better Than Before, I also read an interesting concept. It is the concept of “broken windows.” “Broken windows” is a theory of crime prevention in the early 1980’s where social scientists who observed that when community tolerates petty crimes like broken windows and graffiti, etc, people are more likely to commit serious crime. Gretchen draws a parallel between this concept and her favorite theory of fixing outer order to bring inner calm. She equalizes “broken windows” to a personal setback or disorder.

When I thought about this, my mind immediately went to how clutter (my broken window for the longest time I have ever known) started affecting me. For people who know me (my family and close friends) this might definitely seem shocking.

I am the most clutter-blind person my family has ever seen or known. Or I used to be is a better phrase. I never ever was bothered ever by clutter until I had children. And then it got to me so much that I started creating systems everywhere to fix my clutter issue. I still have a few broken windows that I need to fix but my god; my closet has been in shape for the past year and a half. The toys are in place 5 out of 7 days. My clothes are folded weekly. I can find my things in places where I kept them.

But there is a slight unnoticeable thing that happened that changed the game. How did I recognize my broken window that changed my life completely as I knew it? This is where I introduce my Space Invasion theory.

The Theory of Space Invasion

I feel people are always clutter blind to their own issues but the moment someone else invades their space in form or function, they start noticing clutter more. My husband would nag me a lot to fix my closet, put clothes in their place, etc. and we would fight. That did not change me a bit. That made me unhappy about everything.

But it was not until this one day when out of nowhere (or maybe he thought it through, I have never asked) my husband gave up on nagging me and started putting his clothes out of the basket instead. It immediately blew my mind. How could a person throw clothes on the floor like that? How am I supposed to walk on the floor? That moment, just that moment, changed my whole life as I know it.

I recognized my broken window. I started putting my clothes in the basket. He still throws clothes out; I have never nagged him once about them. I am still very clutter-tolerant than he is. But since these clothes invade my space, I take them and put them in the basket right at that moment. And I make sure my clothes (that need to be washed) are always in the basket as well. We have never once fought about this issue in the last two years since this happened. Our chronic clothes on the floor problem have been solved. We are happier.

How to use Space Invasion theory to identify your Broken Windows?

Sometimes we have an idea of what is exactly wrong with our life. Others need more time to come face to face with it to accept that they have a problem.

Every problem arises because someone has invaded your personal space in some manner. You can ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Find in which way your personal space has been invaded
  2. What thoughts are the most annoying to you at the moment?

You may find these ideas invading your space in the following parameters:

  1. Actual Physical Space
  2. Time
  3. Mental Space
  4. Sensorial Space – (5 senses)

Some examples of space invasion could be:

  1. Kids toys all over the house including your bedroom
  2. Someone playing loud music when you are trying to be quiet so baby can sleep
  3. People taking too much of your time wanting you to do something for them
  4. Kids jumping on you when you are exercising
  5. Laundry baskets invading your hallway

How To Use Space Invasion Theory To Fix Broken Windows?

If someone is invading your space, you should follow my husband’s footsteps to solve your broken window:

  1. Drop nagging
  2. Invade their space subtly till they realize what they are doing wrong. 
  3. Once they have realized their mistake, more often than not the problem will solve itself, or there will be a dialogue waiting to happen to find a solution.

Question: What is bothering you a lot? Use the space invasion theory to identify your broken window. Let me know in the comments how you will fix this issue.

 

Disclaimer: I am not promoting retaliation. This is not a one size fit all solution and will work in individual circumstances and may not work in other cases. This is what worked for us in this particular situation and I thought was insightful to ponder about.

How do I keep calm? (An attempt at poetry about my feelings)

How do I keep calm?

When he wakes up and cries and scratches my back and wants me to hold him

The feelings are right

The moment is wrong

I have work to do, people to make ready, chores to finish

I have places to go and I am falling back on the clock

How do I keep calm?

 

How do I keep calm?

When I have cooked and cooked

Every recipe on the books

All he wants is mac n cheese

And for me to let him off the hook

The feelings are right

The moment is wrong

How do I keep calm?

 

How do I keep calm?

I spent all day playing superheroes and firemen

I spent all day reading books and blowing bubbles

I want to breathe, I want my space

All he wants though is to have more play

The feelings are right

The moment is wrong

How do I keep calm?

 

How do I keep calm?

He is crying on the flight

The staring eyes at me with all the might

I cannot hold him as the attendant gives me fright.

I pray , I cry, my lenses are now misplaced

The feelings are right

The moment is wrong

How do I keep calm?

 

How do I keep calm?

I leave him in the morning

He sees me at night

The days are long

The years are short

I love him no matter what

The feeling is right

The moment is wrong

How do I keep calm?

The Tao Of Kaizen Motherhood

Ambition and Laziness Going Hand in Hand

Ever since I knew myself, I wanted more. I had the ambition to reach the stars. I wanted to buy more of land, have more money, work more, have more friends, have a bigger house, travel more, just more more more.

Ever since I knew myself, I also was very lazy. I studied last moment before the day of exams. I cleaned right an hour before guests arrived, packed right before a trip. Picked my clothes when they were enough mess to bother me. Cooked food when I was hungry. Completed projects when they were due. The only thing that I ever did on time when I was a kid was my homework. I would complete it in the recess and then come home and play. I did not like homework at home. I wanted to have fun after school.

Ever since I knew myself, I was also a workaholic. I worked and worried way too much about everything about my work. I signed up for everything and was the “yes” person. I would always know what other five people in the team are doing and their work.

At home, though, I was ok. I was not raised to be a house frau. I was raised with a lot of house help. We had someone to wash dishes, wash and fold clothes. Our clothes would be ironed by the laundry guy few doors down. We also had a cook. To get up and start cleaning from start of the day till night does not come naturally to me at all.

 

I always thought it was not necessary to have organized spaces, but I feel very different about it now.

 

Having Kids and Change in Perspective – No Time To Be Lazy And Still Wanting More Out Of Life

 

As soon as I had kids, my last minute work has not helped me with my need of doing more. I was raised with a lot of house help too so the need of being so responsible was never felt until five years ago when I had my son, and his needs became the highest priority in our lives. My whole outlook towards life has changed.

 

I have to be more prepared for kids’ food and activities and even mine to schedule things around their activities and nap times. I have to make sure they always have clothes to wear and myself too. I have to think about health consciously as I want to be active with them for as long as I live and I want them to make healthier choices too.

 

I also want to increase my patience and become calmer in my attitude towards my children. I think I am sometimes so swamped in thoughts that it becomes harder for me to understand their attitude. Being compassionate towards their feelings is going to be my biggest why on why I want to make changes in my life.

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I still want a lot more for them like wanting them to take part in a lot of activities and sports and for them to be good at social skills and reading and music and everything. I also still want more for myself like starting my blog, my own business or being more effective at work. I want to exercise, meditate and cook better food. I have a routine, but it is not perfect.

 

To do all this requires extensive preparation. I have to know when to schedule, what to schedule, how to schedule. How much time it takes to drive to all these places, or to cook the healthy dishes, everything. What to say yes to and what to say no to?

 

Paving the way for Kaizen Motherhood

 

In spite of an extensive list of “someday I wills,” I am leaning a lot towards wanting quality in my life.

I am at a point where I don’t want to be bothered by clutter. I don’t want to be bothered by random thoughts of fear. I don’t want too many activities or too many friends. I want everyone to do activities that we enjoy, and with people we like. I want to get to know the people I already know, more deeply and meaningfully than knowing more people and adding to my network.

 

I want to start creating systems now, so am not the person who regrets her life as I grow up. I want to make small changes daily to get to the point where I am.

Kaizen Motherhood is going to be a living document of how I am making changes to my world one step at a time. I would love you to join me on this journey.

 

set-an-intention-for-the-new-year

Why am I making Resolutions Before January 1st?

For years, I have made resolutions on January 1st but not given it enough time to stick, and they have fallen off. Last year, though, I started on a health journey in October, and I continued it throughout the next year making me more and more conscious about my health. I entered the new year prepared, and it worked so much better for me to keep my goals.

So this time I want to follow suit, and I want to make resolutions not when everyone starts making them, but now, so that I can enter the new year with more strength and preparations.

At the end of this resolution I want to:

  1. Make my house a zen place to live in with less clutter and more element and essentials, so I don’t have to look for Zen in other places
  2. Create a clutter free zone in the house (my oversized counter top)
  3. Have my small yard to look more zen-like and beautiful
  4. Be more mindful and present with my children
  5. Develop one or two hobbies that stick and give me pleasure
  6. Create systems to eat healthily and make better food choices for the kids and family
  7. Be prepared to deal calmly and patiently with my children
  8. Be more prepared for activities and life in general
  9. Live with a clutter-free mind
  10. Make more time in my life to focus on creating a sustainable business.
  11. Developed meaningful friendships with people I already know

Essentially, I want to develop a minimalist (not frugal- it is different) lifestyle.

It may take few months or years to accomplish this, but this is the intention I am setting for 2017.

What are your needs and goals for 2017? Do you care for a minimalist lifestyle? Why or Why not?

Please let me know in the comments below.

How To Keep Calm And Survive Terrible Twos?

I have two boys. 5 and two years old. I am surviving terrible twos, and I have to admit that “twos” are the hardest years so far. I love the four-year-old age. They bring their amazing questions and perspective to life and make the world so much entertaining. 

But handling a two-year-old? It is the most dreadful part of motherhood I think. Especially if you are a first-time mother who is in love with her baby and then reality suddenly sets in, and you are like,”What monster did I give birth to????”

I have a friend who has a third baby boy(about six months old) and she keeps looking at him and saying,” Oh my God, you are going to be a two-year-old one day!” I find it amusing when she says that but that is how every mother feels.

I love to take my kids outdoors and to the community parks. But in scorching weather here in Las Vegas, it is impossible to take them to parks. So we have indoor playgrounds. I feel sorry they have been home all day, and I should be doing something to keep them entertained, so I take them to these playgrounds. More often than not my two-year-old has played for 10 minutes and then asked for a snack that he is not allowed to take on any of the slides or structures.

It is so hard for him to handle this rule. He wants to eat and run around like at parks. At indoor playgrounds, he has to choose between a snack and playtime. He cannot wrap his head around it. I have stopped going to indoor playgrounds unless there is a party invitation.

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Follow Rules

There was a time when he kept throwing himself down on the ground crying at an indoor place. I was trying to tell him in vain that he has to choose between snack or the playground and on the side was giving the weirdest “I am trying people” smiles to individuals who were staring at me( a  thing I don’t understand about parents and the indoor playground owners. Don’t they go through the same thing? Do they expect to be in a spa environment when it is an indoor playground full of kids which may have some two-year-olds to stare like that?)

There have been couple times now that I have signed up for mommy and me classes with him like cooking with children, music and movement class and hip hop class. More often than not, he has not wanted to be in the class environment on the first day. My older kid when he was two years old handled this so much better. But he would keep holding my pants and not move without me. It took him a while to get adjusted.

My younger kid doesn’t care to hold me or anything. He just either keeps running in circles or looks for food in my purse or wants to get the hell out of there. In his defense, he does try. He started loving the music and movement class and followed instructions, but he kept bringing his Thomas engine to the class (trust me I tried taking it from him before we entered the class but some battles are not to be fought) and then kids got into fights because all wanted to play with Thomas.

If you have wondered why people age by ten years when they become parents, it happens in this one or two year period of two and three-year-olds.

So In Midst Of This Hair Pulling, Head-Scratching Phase, How Do We Expect Ourselves To Be Calm? 

anger-1197374

Angry mother, adult tantrums, calm parenting

I was not used to dealing with kids before I had my own. Of course, no one does. So how have I kept calm through these tough years? Trust me sometimes I have not. I have been angry; I have screamed, cried and thrown an adult tantrum myself. But through the mommy guilt of not wanting to be a screaming parent, I have learned to handle myself like an adult sometimes.

Here are eight things that have helped me get by:

  1. The most efficient solution is to hang out with other moms of two-year-olds and watch them handle their kids. Especially moms who believe in positive parenting or are seemingly very calm or the ones who like to read a lot of parenting books. Going through this tough period is hard but being with someone who understands your journey or is there with you in the same phase is the best solution you can give yourself. Sometimes looking at other kids throw tantrums makes you feel better about your kid. It puts you in a comfortable position. You feel you do much better. (Not as a judgmental person but sometimes looking at others makes you feel like grass is as green on your side as others). Sometimes it makes you feel horrible if you think you are not able to handle your kid, but you know that other kids do it too and no one is going to be judging you here.
  2.  The other solution is to hang out with moms that have slightly older children than yours. They have new solutions in their mind that worked for them and they will give you excellent advice. It may not function for you, but you will have another support system that you feel like you can look up to.
  3.  “Light Lene Ka” – (means take it lightly in mumbaiyya(from Mumbai) Hindi) – You can joke about your situation. Take pictures of your kid’s tantrums and write down silly reasons of why they had the tantrum. You might even start looking forward to the next outburst to share with everyone and find a new comedy routine in your hard life. Look at this blog that does that for entertainment.
  4. This is the single most important one for your sanity, and no it is not WINE. Stop expecting life to be smooth. The thing is, when we plan something for our kids, we imagine this fantastic moment in our life where we picture how amazing this day/event/time/moment is going to be for our children. We imagine the happy kids, the fun times, the kisses, the laughter. What we do not imagine and leave out conveniently is the tantrums that they might throw. If we start understanding at what point your kid is going to throw a tantrum (usually more often than not they have a pattern that if you pay attention can figure out), you can be better prepared for it. For example, if they throw tantrum because they are going to want to eat something, feed them too much before they enter the playground and don’t take any food with you. Or if they bring toys and create a hostile environment, forget toys at home and find a way to distract them that you know always works. Just be ready with 5 solutions if one does not work right away. Your fifth solution can be a coffee or a wine for yourself.
  5. Take his/her feelings into account and let him/her direct the activity – Take him to wherever you want to but let him decide what he wants to do there. If he is not ready to follow instructions, that is ok. Try to be patient and reinforce what you want to tell him. Two-year-olds are just trying to test their boundaries. Be prepared to walk away in the middle of the activity if their tantrum continues. Try again next time and see if it continues to bother them. Sometimes it is just something wrong at that moment. Sometimes they just hate that particular environment.
  6. Lots of hugs, cuddles and jumping around. All of these help with the stress-release hormone for you and your toddler and make both of you feel better.
  7. Deep exhaling when you feel rage. Instead of putting your kid in time-out, just go to the bathroom or another room and calm yourself down first. Once you are taken away from the situation for a moment, it gives you a minute to get back your lost control so you can handle the situation better.
  8. Sometimes nothing works. All you can do is wait for the tantrum out. My husband gifted me headphones for my birthday because I was tired of everyone screaming. I should remember to use them often.

Do you have a two-year-old or a threenager? How do you handle them? Please let me know in comments below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Zen in Throwing Kids’ Parties

So a couple of days ago we went to our first trunk or treat organized by a wonderful mommy group that I am a part of. I was a little overwhelmed because I was not sure what decorating a Trunk entails but it was super easy. 

Here is the pic of our trunk:

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The one thing I realized when talking to other moms is that everyone agrees that this is a lot of work that all parents put in. Planning and decorating, getting costumes for kids, getting them in the clothes, planning and making or buying a dish to share.

And kids, they don’t care much about the efforts or anything.

Here is how our decoration went. I started putting things up. I said to my older son, “Can you please help me? We will decorate this car and go for a fun event at the park.”

My kid said, “No.” And started asking me a bunch of crazy questions. “Whose party are we going to? Why are we decorating the trunk? Can I eat the candy already? Why should I wear a costume? Can I just wear regular clothes?”

He gave me a tough time getting ready and out of the door that day. At this point, I was wondering why the heck was I even trying. But we went regardless. 

The park had their splash pad open, and moms were pulling kids away from there. It stopped being funny when my son ran to it too. I had to distract him with food. But then they did not want to take pics or anything or eat the healthier food that was available before they could eat desserts. No, they just wanted to play in the park.

Everyone enjoyed, though. Then we had a parade and then kids visited everyone’s trunk for a candy treat (or a noncandy one for the ones with allergies).

The kids were on a sugar high eating way too much candy, and it is not even Halloween yet, and I was wondering to myself, Why do we feed our kids candy?? And plan such events full of sugar when we know kids are going to be cranky after?

My children went to another Halloween celebration day after. Today we went to a pumpkin patch. At our house, we are also celebrating Diwali this weekend and my son’s birthday is on the actual Halloween day. We have fun things planned back to back.

Then we also have a birthday party planned in few days. The balloons, the decor, the cake, the food. Kids gather and play and are again super tired, and then we feed them a cake? Why? Why do we do that? An exhausted child becomes cranky but energetic after cake. Maybe they should be fed cake before the party? So they can burn the sugar off?

I remember when I was young,  the most people who would be invited to my birthday party were 5 and they would come on their own. There were no parents involved. I can’t believe how I would have reacted though if I lived in those times. How would I ever take care of 5 more children excluding two of mine and feed them sugar? They used to be mostly neighboring kids though so they could walk. I wonder if I can let my son walk to any nearby house on his own ever.

I digress. Now coming back to the point of the article. I think the Zen in throwing parties is in the planning. I take the time to look through and admire the different Pinterest pictures. Then look at designs and sometimes even make a lame attempt to create some beautiful pieces on my own.

I take the time to neatly plan what games we will play, what cake I will order or decorate, what gifts I will give. Then there is the planning and cooking of food, the organizing of our house. Making lists and checking items off and organizing are first and second in line when it comes to calming a crazy mind.

The Zen of the parties also is in meeting adults (finally!) and listening and feeling better that everyone is in a similar boat of life and that I am not alone.

It is in the cleaning up after the party, recounting some fun moments that happened during the party.

And it happens that sometimes we are tired and we do complain after. Especially when everyone is super tired and  high on sugar and kids want to keep playing and complaining that it all ended and all you are thinking about is this book, Go The F*** To Sleep

The funny part is that I believe that even if I do complain about tantrums and meltdowns of sugar high, deep down I am satisfied to see the kids enjoying to the fullest and making friends and making memories. Because guess what, the days are long but the years are short!

And in these years we will remember some meltdowns but mostly what we will remember, are these cute faces with smiles and laughter and all happy and entertained.

I think this is what mindfulness is all about. It is about being in the moment and looking for the positive side of life especially in the toughest possible times like this coming Monday when we are going to have sugar fed monsters roaming down streets ringing bells of stranger’s houses.

Best Blogs on Bullet Journaling For Moms To Follow

Like me, you might be interested in learning more about bullet journaling. Or maybe just intrigued about the craziness around this topic. So I decided to round-up  a few blogs that talk about this topic and have worked for me as an inspiration.

  1. Bullet Journal : The original blog and inventor of bullet journal! We cannot proceed without giving Ryder Carroll credit for shaking the journaling system up!
  2.  Start a Mom Blog : Suzi is an industrial engineer like me and in this post writes about all the things that I got attracted by into bullet journaling. I love her blog design and how clean it is. She has posted on how to  BuJo, what products to use, why it is a very good time management tool. She even gives a definition of Kaizen. Of course, I had to love her blog!
  3.  Tiny Ray Of Sunshine : Kim has done a great job of breaking down every part of Journal very systematically into an infographic. The concept of Collection and Migration is so clear after reading this blog.
  4. Sublime Reflection :  Kimberly has a blog post with pictures on different weekly layouts she has tried. It helps to know that since we have our own journal that is not pre-made, we are really free to be as creative as we want to be each week and try different things until we know what works for us. Her layout suggestions are quite good! She also has a great post on ideas of goal tracking that you can see here
  5. Christina77star : Another blog that laysout 25 ideas on how to layout weekly BUJO! Christina also has Ideas, DIYS, Set Up Ideas, etc on her blog.
  6. Productive and Pretty :  Liz and Jen do a great job of showing how to “meal -plan” using BUJO! They have about 15 different ideas listed! They also have ideas for savings tracking here
  7. HipHomeschoolingBlog : If you are a homeschooling mom, Rebecca helps you use bullet journal for your homeschooling-planning
  8. Forever Good Life : Eva talks about how to use bullet journal to change your mindset to productive and growth mindset. If you are looking to build new habits, this might be some inspiration for you.

 

Do you have a favorite Bullet Journaling blog that you would like to add to the list? Please let me know in comments!

 

 

 

 

How I am setting up my Bullet Journal?

Here Is my video on How I Set Up My Bullet Journal! Hope you Like it!

 

 

Please let me know what you would add to the bullet journal in the comments below! Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Why am I hopping on the Bullet-Journaling Bandwagon?

Are you a journal junkie? Do you collect journals at the beginning of the year only to find it hard to keep up with it?

Do you have more than one journal to track a few different things?

Look no further! I am your twin nerd sister.

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 Currently, I have one for writing about fitness and diet habits. Other is for reflection on the day and the past and clearing my negativity. One is for writing and creating affirmations. Other is to maintain a bucket list.

I also have a gratitude jar that I repurposed from a bath and body gift box, where I write to thank you notes daily and store them. Sometimes I use a thankfulness app to do the same thing. I write my content calendar and goals on Trello and sometimes in a book.

I also have a few things on my calendar with alarms set up.

The problem with having different ways of capturing my life has done damage to me in following ways:

  1. A husband who asks “Another journal?”
  2. The inability to carry all these with me everywhere
  3. Clutter of journals
  4. I am not able to keep up with this at all. 

I am never going to be able to use journaling effectively if I continue on this crazy path. As much as I love being on computers and capturing everything, I love the mindfulness of writing. I want to keep journaling, but I want to do it in a very thoughtful way and take this excess clutter out of my house. 

Recently, a  mommy friend mentioned this article and it looked appealing and intimidating at the same time. Yes, I am talking about bullet journaling! It is the new trend to follow and frankly, it does sound complicated with having to write “keys” and “indexes.” And then future and monthly logs, etc. Then there are thousands of videos online on how to make bullet journals artistically. ( Those are way too much artistic for this Industrial Engineer Mom)

So what I am aiming at is to simplify the journaling process for me, to combine all my writing and tracking into one place that is not online and to keep at it for the longer time than a month.

Want to know more about Bullet-Journaling and if it will work for you or not? Follow my journey every Monday and Thursday of October on this blog as I bring you a real live experience of me testing out Bullet-Journaling. 

Ryder Carroll invented ***Bullet Journal. More about him here

Stop Worrying About Getting Chores Done and Snap Your Way Out Of Mommy Guilt

Moms, let face it. How much does the guilt of not getting things done linger in your mind? Almost all of my mommy friends feel guilty for not being able to get simple chores done, let alone do more. Many of them move from one task to another and feel incredibly shameful just to sit down.

I will not lie. I have been ridden with this guilt too.

I have been exponentially researching self-care and meditation/mindfulness and how to easily incorporate these into Mom’s busy lifestyle.

On the other hand, I have also been spending a lot more time with my demanding  2.5-year-old  son. I was working full-time since he was six months old, so with the recent change in my job life, I am just keeping him to myself for some time and enjoying before he goes to preschool.

All this time, though, the thoughts of not getting laundry done or not being able to cook daily and the house being messier than it really should be, are bothering me a lot more than usual.

Is Putting A Checkmark To Your To-Do List That Important?

Earlier this week I picked up a book on self-care called The Self Care Solution by Julie Burton. Julie Burton is a mother of four children ( a couple of those are past their teenage years), a yoga teacher and a journalist. She writes about self-care on her blog.

There is one small paragraph in this book that she has quoted from Anna Quindlen that I am copy-pasting here which has been very helpful for me to get over my guilt.

Anna says, “ The biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this. I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less. Even today I’m not sure what worked and what didn’t, what was me and what was simply life.”

This sentence speaks volumes. How eager I usually am just to get chores out of the way that I sometimes miss the fun part of being around with the kids and enjoying them. Most mornings when I see their cute little faces waking up from a good night’s sleep, all I think of is my plan to get them ready and out of the door. “Have breakfast, now let’s have a bath. Here are your clothes, your tiffin. Please tie your shoes. Let’s hurry.”

Getting Laundry Out Of The Way To Make Room For More Fun Is Not The Answer

We want to make room for fun. We all want to be happy. But our mental dialogue tells us differently. “Only if this laundry was done, I could spend some more time doing what I love. Only if this dishwasher is empty, I can play with you. This is time for cooking; I actually cannot play superheroes right now.”

Guess what? The laundry cycle never gets done forever. We always have to cook. We always have to get our children ready. Our mind tricks us into thinking that there is a full-stop somewhere.

We have to learn the tricks of our mind and get over them.  The mind thinks that to be happy we have to be clear of our mental clutter. We have to put a check mark on our to-do list. But happiness lies in the process of being present in the task of whatever that we choose to do. It is not in the result.

Just like Anna wishes she had treasured the doing more, we have to start working on slowing things down and savoring these moments more.

But you don’t have to take my or Anna’s word for it.

Find a time when you are usually in this dark “mental shit” status. For me, it is my morning routine when I want just to get everyone out of the house. For you, it could be your dinner time or bed time routine.

For example:

  • Look at your beautiful children’s faces when they wake up.
  • Snap your fingers when you think about the clock and the running time.
  • Now look at them again and feel the love.
  • Admire their fresh energy. Listen to them talk about their silly dreams.
  • Snap your fingers again when you start thinking you have no time for this.
  • Go live at the moment again when they are eating their breakfast that you so thoughtfully made (or when they are throwing tantrums really)
  • Remember that this time will pass soon. All that will be left is memories. Do you want a whole bunch of hurry in your memories? Think about it.

Snap your fingers every time you feel hurried and slow the time down mindfully. When you have tried and tested it out, please come back to this post and comment about your learnings.

  • Were you feeling less guilty?
  • Did you feel your happiness levels rise than usual?
  • How did the family react to the new “you”?
  • Which another routine could you apply this to?

I am eager to hear more about your experiments in the comments below this post. 

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Epilogue :

When I shared this post with Julie, she wanted to tell all moms of younger children about something she feels strongly about. Here it goes:

“ Now that two of my kids are in college, and one is a teen, and one is a tween, I find myself feeling very nostalgic about their early years. I was often so stressed, overwhelmed, and worried about everything that I was doing “wrong” that I missed out on some of the magic and the joy of their childhood years. I sometimes yearn to go back there and play with them more, cuddle with them a little longer and soak up the smell of them and the feel of their skin next to mine. While kids become more self-sufficient and independent, which is what most mothers of young children yearn for, motherhood gets easier in some ways but harder in others, as the “small kids, small problems, big kids, big problems” saying starts to make more sense. I miss my big kids. I miss the way my now 19-year-old son’s eyes would light up when he saw me walk in a room and the way he always wanted to hold my hand. Now, he is across the country, and I can barely keep him on the phone for five minutes a few times a week. I miss the six of us together around the dinner table even though most nights one kid, usually the youngest would run off crying.

I would tell parents of young kids that it is okay to be overwhelmed because taking care of young children is overwhelming at times. But the two key components to getting through these years without spending every day trying to hurry things along and secretly wishing your young kids would just grow up already are the following:

1) Every day, try to acknowledge at least a few moments of joy you experience in spending time with your children.

2) Every day, be intentional about doing something for at least 15 minutes just for yourself (taking a bath, talking to a friend on the phone, taking a walk around the block, or reading a book).

These two things will help you feel a little more grounded, a little less overwhelmed and most importantly a little more joyful as a mother and as a woman.”

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