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What is your Word for 2015?

My2015Word

First of all, Happy New Year! May your dreams come true in 2015.

Did you set some resolutions for 2015? I haven’t.

Instead of resolutions that might last only few weeks, here is an exercise that you could do: think about your vision and intentions for 2015.

  • What would you like to achieve?
  • How would you like to feel?
  • What would you be doing in a year from now?
  • Where will you be?

Find a quiet time for you to reflect on what happened on 2014, then set your dreams for 2015. In order to make them happen, you will have to clarify where you want to go and the steps to follow.

Think of a word that would empower you and would keep you on track with your intentions. Write down your word and display it somewhere you can see it everyday to help you keep moving toward your vision. The word could be anything such as a verb (grow, shine, do, achieve, give, etc.), a noun or an adjective, as long as it helps you live a wonderful year in 2015.

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Take the time to send real notes

OHSNotes

Handwritten notes

Few days ago, one of my friends sent me by mail an article that she read in The New York Times. She also attached a note to the article that she cut, explaining why she thought that I would be interested in reading it. This is much more powerful than an email sent with a link to an online article.

This friend retired end of last year. She was using emails at work but since she retired, she did not feel the need to use emails as she does not have any computer or smartphone.

Taking the time to really communicate

We communicate or plan events with each other mainly by phone or sometimes by mail (she is very good in sending Thank You notes!), and it works pretty well. Each time we meet for a coffee, we would block in our agenda a date for our next meeting.

I know that some of her friends would like her to use emails but I have never felt that it was necessary. I also think that I like to keep it that way because it reminds me of how people were communicating with each other in the past and were maybe closer to each other.

Send a note to someone

It will probably take more than 5 minutes of your time, but that will make your gift even more precious: why not sending a card or a note this week to a person that you have not contacted for a while? I bet that you will feel happy when you mail your note and that you will make someone else smile!

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29-Day Giving Challenge

Giving

Several years ago, I read a book that opened my eyes on how much impact the act of giving could have.

29 Gifts by Cami Walker

Cami Walker was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in her early thirties. She took the advice of a healer and friend of hers, and decided to give away something every day for 29 days. Cami describes her journey in her book 29 Gifts.

I was so inspired by Cami, that I decided to join her online community and I wrote down every night what I was giving away (the notes could remain private).

You don’t have to give something material each time: for example, offering your seat in a bus to someone else is also an act of giving. The important rule is that if you miss a day, you have to restart the 29 day cycle.

The exercice requires to be conscious every day of the act of giving, and writing notes helps reflect on what happened during the day.

How the giving challenge can help focus on positive thoughts

At that time, my work was quite stressful and it was challenging to commit to such project. Giving is not that time consuming, but you still need to make sure that you think about it every morning.
Day after day, the challenge became easier and Cami’s team did a great job communicating with the members.

The community website shut down for a while but this year, a new community has been created on a different platform. I haven’t tested it but the interface does not look as user friendly as the previous one. The old site also provided calendars and templates that you could download as support for your notes. The new website does not have those resources anymore.

However, you don’t need anything to start your 29-day giving challenge: only have the intention every morning to do your act of giving. And at the end of the day, write down what you did.

Focusing on positive thoughts and the joy of helping others changed my mood and how I would perceive life. I was still having the same amount of work but my thoughts changed focus and the stress level went down.

I also felt (or was more conscious) that lots of good things were happening during those 29 days. For example, one evening at a business event, there was a draw and I won the first prize! It was a $100 donation to be used on the globalgiving.org website. How good was that?

Since then, the giving challenge never left my mind and I try to promote it when I have the occasion… such as now!

Have you ever been inspired by a book that made you sign up for a project?

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The August Break

OHSTheAugustBreak2014

For the month of August, I joined a community project organized by Susannah Conway: The August Break 2014. The goal was to live the moment with creativity. During the whole month of August, we were given a prompt by email every day so that we could take pictures related to the given topic.

The project had no strict rules and all the topics were also provided in advance on Susannah’s website but to add a little bit of challenge to myself, I made a point to wait for the emails that I would receive every day around midnight to know about the theme, in order to shoot the photograph of the day.

It was not mandatory but we could also share our photographs within the group. This was a great motivation to stay on track with providing a photograph per day and to remember about looking around ourselves, even during a busy day.

Are you doing a similar project?

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Five minutes

To be able to spread happiness around you, you also need to treat yourself well: do something you like for five minutes every day.

To help you start, open your agenda and write down your action items for the seven coming days. If you use an electronic calendar, you can also set a reminder for each day.

After a week, review your agenda to see if you were able to achieve your goal. If not, find out why.

If you were able to do your daily activity: congratulations! Will you then be able to continue the exercise every day?