Monday, December 29, 2008

Seven Things Not To Do When Creating a New Years Resolution

One in four people will not make it a week with their New Year’s resolution. Here are seven things not to do when creating a New Year’s resolution that will help you go the distance:

1. Don’t keep it to yourself. Let others know!
2. Don’t leave it in your head. Write down your goals!
3. Don’t be vague. How much? At what rate? By when?
4. Don’t be inflexible. Not all goals happen with the flip of a switch.
5. Don’t be unrealistic or harsh. It is not always realistic to deny yourself.
6. Don’t take on too much at once. This is just setting yourself up for disappointment.
7. Don’t put it off. There always seems to be a better time than right now. Start TODAY!

“Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become your character.
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”
- Anonymous

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Surviving Holiday Stress

Be realistic. Now is the time to take a step back and look realistically at the time frame you have remaining to get all these things done on top of your regular activities.

Maintain your regular exercise routine. Don’t slip up simply because you have some extra errands to do.

Get to bed at your usual time or earlier. Instead of compromising your sleep time, reevaluate how important an errand or task is in the first place.

Feel pulled in a million directions? Schedule “you” time for at least 15-30 minutes each day doing something that you enjoy.

Learn to say no. Don’t take something on assuming you will find the time to get it done.

Eat properly. Pick and choose the healthiest foods and indulge on those. Eat smaller portions of your selected treats.

Cut down your gift giving list. Gather for a cookie or gift exchange where each person is only required to bring one item or, send a thoughtful Christmas card instead.

Stick to a budget. Financial woes top of the list of relationship issues. Don’t put an extra strain on yourself and your relationship by running up big bills this season.

Forget about perfection. Perfection isn’t reality. Don’t be so hard on yourself!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Holiday Shopping for Those Who Have it All or Are Difficult to Buy For

Here are some ideas on what to give that “hard-to-buy person” this holiday season. They will be pleased with their gift, and you will be pleased that you followed these tips.

1) The gift certificate is often looked at as a last minute afterthought. However, letting the receiver choose their own gift will almost always ensure that they get something they will like better than what someone else would have picked for them.

2) Movie money is a great idea for someone who enjoys a night out but doesn’t always make it happen.

3) Everyone appreciates looking at pictures of their loved ones. Take an old photograph and have it professionally restored to look brand new, or take a new photograph and have it resized and professionally framed.

4) Tickets to a sporting event, play or musical are always great gift ideas.

5) Not only are homemade gifts more personal and unique, they are guaranteed to put a smile on the person’s face knowing you put such time and effort into their gift. If you know they have a sweet tooth, whip up a holiday sweet treat.

6) Look around your house for materials to use and items to re-gift. Re-gifting is fine as long as you believe the gift is appropriate for the receiver and you think they will truly like it.

7) If you are buying for individual family members, why not put the cash together and buy a family present, like a foosball game for their family room or software for the computer.

8) People often discreetly let you know what they want, so pay attention to hints, listen and make notes. Better yet, ask them to make notes and prepare a list of items they would like and the particular shops they enjoy.

Remember that it is the thought that counts, so it’s never too early to start thinking about what to give the person who has everything or is difficult to buy for.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Eliminate Holiday Stress

Practice these holiday stress reducers so you don’t just survive the season, but enjoy this special time of the year.
  1. Schedule “you” time for at least 15-30 minutes each day doing something that you enjoy.
  2. Just say “No”. No excuses necessary.
  3. Ask family members which traditions they really enjoy, then think about altering those traditions to better suit today’s busy lifestyle.
  4. Don’t buy into bigger is better. Whether shopping for a gift, creating a warm evening for friends or cooking or baking, think of ways to simplify.
  5. Schedule your other activities around your workout routines.
  6. Get to bed at your usual time or earlier.
  7. Eat properly. Don’t use the holidays and stress as a reason to over eat.
  8. Although some people believe alcohol decreases your stress, it is only a temporary solution.
  9. Cut down your gift giving list. If you have way too many people to buy gifts for this year, try having a family, friend or work gift draw.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Home for those with Environmental Sensitivities

Breathe better.
A cluttered environment makes it difficult to rid our homes of certain irritants. A simplified and back to basics approach will often help to create a healthier home.

Declutter, have soft furnishings that are easily washed and think carefully about what you allow to be in this very important space.

Even items such as new carpets, sofas, and wooden furniture can have a negative impact on your health due to off-gassing.

Eat better.
When we start to eliminate toxins and irritants in our homes it is easy to continue this pattern by looking at the foods we eat.

Make a habit of picking local and organic foods for a diet that is good for you, the environment, and your local economy.

Getting organized allows improved purchase, preparation and meal planning – the key ingredients to a healthier diet.

Live better.

Eliminating chemicals from your environment can help clear your body and your mind letting you lead a happier, healthier existence.

What’s in your laundry detergent? Many popular brands of laundry soap contain scents, chemicals, and potential carcinogens, which stay in your clothes.

There are many alternative products available in the natural section of your grocery store or try some homemade cleaners.

The Environmental Working Group can tell you about the safety of your cosmetic and personal care products and suggest safer products. Visit their Skin Deep database and also check out thier information on food safety.

Monday, December 1, 2008

How to Renew Your Canadian Passport

Many of us like to travel but if you are like me you might not like the paperwork involved in getting your passport renew. Here’s a list to keep you on track to get you on the road faster.

Print out the forms at You may qualify for the simplified form.
Fill out the forms.
Get new passport photos taken.
Write the declaration, “I certify this to be a true likeness of (your name)” on the back of one of the photos.
Select someone to be your guarantor. The rules have changed, now anyone who has known you for 2 or more years can act as guarantor.
Have them sign and date the declaration on the back of one photo, fill out part 2 on the form, and sign your proof of identity photocopies.
Photocopy BOTH SIDES proof of ID and have guarantor sign copies. You can alternatively send in the original.
Get the money you will need.
Mail form or visit Canada Post location, Passport Canada office, or Service Canada office. Visiting a passport office is the quickest way to get it renewed.

You will need:
o 3 page application form
o 2 identical passport photos
o Signature of guarantor- signature on application, on proof of ID, and on photo
o 2 References who have known you for 2 or more years
o Original proof of citizenship such as a birth certificate
o Photocopy (front and back) or original document to support identity such as a driver’s license or health care card
o Any Canadian passport or travel document issued to you within the past 5 years
o $87 fee-cash, debit, credit card, certified cheque, money order