Do Something Different

I got an email today from a program that I did years ago called ‘Do Something’.  It was a 14 day program that motivates you to get out of your comfort zone and do things you would not normally do.

To shake things up.

To see things from a new perspective and experience something different.

Each day for 14 days I received an email telling me what to do.  It remember some being interesting and some being pretty lame.  I did them all for the first few days and then I started lagging.  I don’t think I completed the program.

Which is not like me!  I’m a cultivator of new habits! I stick to my goals and do what I say I’m going to do.

Turns out, I do what I say I’ll do, not what others tell me to do.  I guess that’s not so surprising.  After all, the motivation behind my own personal goals and testing out a new program are very different.

BUT – I loved the idea, and I still do, which is why when I got this email from them announcing a new program I immediately signed up.

The Do Something Different Program

So this one again is a 14 day program. For 14 days I will receive emails with things to do.  I can then log into the app check off that I did it (gotta love a little accountability built in!) and I can comment and share my thoughts with other people in the community.

Before starting the program they had me answer a bunch of questions.  They do this so that they can tailor the program for you so that you’ll get the most out of it.  They asked things like:

  • behaviours that best describe me (like introverted, extroverted, calm, energetic, etc)
  • some of my habits (like screen time, spending time with people you love, noticing good things around you, etc)
  • my wellbeing (feeling happy, coping well with problems, physical heath, etc)

They then gave me a ‘score’ – which I gotta be honest, I think is a load of crap.  They say that I’m only using 10% of my potential personality.  Oh and that 80% of my personality is waiting to be unlocked – ha yeah, ok.

Despite this silly report, I’m still open to giving it a try.

The First Do

So I got my first ‘do’ right away and it’s an easy one: switch seats today.

And I’m gonna do it.  I work at a university (and I do all my work on a laptop) so there are a lot of great places that I can go work.  Maybe I’ll go work here today:


Only it won’t look like this because 1: it’s rainy and gloomy outside, and 2: it’s the second day of classes and the campus is packed with students.

I’m sure I can find a quiet place on campus to work.

I’ll keep you posted on this program and let you know how it goes.  Or you can just give it a try yourself (it’s free).



When Inspiration Doesn’t Come

Sometimes ideas come to me.  I’ll wake up or be out for a walk and blog posts will form or  work projects will solve themselves.  When it happens it’s like I have no choice but to go where the idea leads me.  They’ve led me to create new positions for myself at work, to create 21 day challenges, and go on exciting adventures. I once woke up at 4 am to write an entire speech that had been weighing on me for weeks.

I haven’t had one of these moments in a while.  Granted, I’ve been pretty distracted (in the best way), but my creative energy is running on low.  I feel it.  Even writing this now I’m second guessing myself.  Ideas are not flowing and I’m struggling a little here.

But what I’ve come to realize is that more I force creativity – write when I don’t want to write, paint when I don’t feel like painting – over time ideas start coming back to me.  I get back into the flow.

In other words, if I wait around for something to come to me I know I could be waiting a while.

Which is why I’m doing this Creativity Challenge and why I am SUPER EXCITED about it.  Even just putting it out there to all of you has created a little magic.

I’m still working on it (which makes me a little nervous as it starts in less than a week now!) but I feel that it’s going to be just what I need.  And yes, it’s designed with you in mind, but really it’s for me and so I’m putting things in it that I want to do.  So if you’re nervous about joining, here are some things you need to know:

  • I wouldn’t have you do anything that I’m not comfortable doing.
  • It’s not about what you create, it’s about the process of creating.
  • You don’t need any special materials.  We won’t be embarking on artistic creations involving paint or clay.  You should already have everything you need.
  • All the tasks will only take 10 minutes to do, though some will have options to take it further if you feel compelled.

And as with the other community challenges, there will be prizes along the way 🙂

So what do you say, are you in?  Click on the image below to join!

join the creativity challenge

21 Day Creativity Challenge

I love fall but it’s far too short.  With a blink the leaves fade and fall to the ground.  As the sun sets earlier I’m often left feeling uninspired and a little zapped of my creativity.

But not this year!  This year I’ve decided to infuse a little extra creativity into my day and I’d love for you to join me.

The Creativity Challenge

Here’s how it’ll work: Every week, for three weeks, we’ll focus on a creative theme and each day I’ll give you a little task that you can do in 10 minutes – tops.

You don’t have to be an artist, but you do have to be rid of any and all self-criticisms and let your imagination guide you.

So are you in?

All you have to do is join the 21 Day Creativity Challenge Facebook Event.  Each morning, beginning November 1st,  I will post the task.  You do it, and then comment on the event to say that you did it.

AND every time you do post on the event page you will be entered into a draw to win something awesome.  That means if you post every day, your name will be added 21 times.  That’s a lot of times.

This challenge won’t take you too far out of your comfort zone, but just might change the way you see your world.

join the creativity challenge

Gratitude Challenge

When I was at yoga teacher training in Costa Rica I felt so grateful for the experience. I was incredibly present and I promised myself that I would take that feeling back to Canada with me. In the eight months that I’ve been back I have to say that I haven’t been very good at keeping that promise.

It’s not that I’m ungrateful, I just could be better at stopping every now and then and saying, gee…things are pretty great and I am one lucky lady to be surrounded by so much awesome. I’m not just talking about the big stuff like family, job and general security which I ought to be grateful for I’m talking the little things. Like my coffee maker. How awesome is that thing!? I mean really! And milk is just there in my fridge, also awesome.

There’s really so much awesome and I’m in need of a little reminder of this.

AND SO…beginning on May 1st – one week today – I will embark on a 21 Day Gratitude Challenge and I want you, yes you!, to join me.

Here’s how it’s going to work: Each day of the challenge I will post a little gratitude prompt on the 21 Day Gratitude Challenge Facebook event. A little suggestion to focus your gratitude on for that day, if only for just a moment.

  • Week one we’ll look to ordinarily things in our lives and find the magic in them.
  • Week two we’ll focus on past and present experiences.
  • We’ll spend our final week being grateful for the people in our lives.

You are welcome to follow the suggestions, or simply follow your heart and post whatever it is that you are grateful for that day.

If this sounds like something you might enjoy just click on the image below to join our wonderful community.

21 day gratitude challenge join me

As with the previous challenge, every time you post on the event page, I will put your name into a draw to win something awesome.

I can’t wait to start!

Spring Clean Challenge Complete! Onto the Next 21 Day Challenge

I spent the first three weeks of April cleaning, organizing, and de-cluttering my life and it was pretty awesome.   I never thought I would say that about a cleaning challenge, but it really was.

This challenge was different from all other challenges that I have undertaken on Cultivating Habits in that a community came together this time.  There were over 300 people signed up for the event and each day we made our way through basic and ambitious tasks that worked to spring clean both our houses and our lives.  Seeing the posts each day and the encouraging words from community members warmed my heart and motivated me like nothing before!

I’m still glowing.

And my house is too!  I don’t think I would have done as much as I did if it wasn’t for the community.  Today I am still admiring my:

  • organized cupboards,
  • sparkling baseboards,
  • streak-free windows,
  • stripped down closet, and
  • organized inbox.

My goal going into this challenge was to develop a habit of cleaning a little every day.   Since the challenge ended, I have indeed kept up with this habit, though not to the extent that I did during the 21 days.  It’s amazing how much more you can do when you have a plan and a community to keep you accountable!

So what’s next? Well, a few things..

A prize winner: Every time someone posted on the event page their name was entered into a draw to win a prize. I’m now waiting on confirmation about the very exciting donated prize and hope to announce the winner early next week.

As for the next challenge: On the last day of this 21 day challenge I had a moment of profound gratitude for everyone who joined me in this challenge. That moment of gratitude reminded me of how important it is to take time out and really be present and grateful for all of the wonderful things that I have in my life.

With that in mind, beginning on May 1st, I will embark on a 21 day gratitude challenge  to honor the things, experiences and people for which I am grateful, and I would love for you to join me.

All you have to do is click on the image below to join our wonderful community.  On May 1st I will provide you with daily gratitude prompts.

21 day gratitude challenge join me

Oh and there will be a prize at the end of this challenge too – I’ll tell you more about that later!

Join the 21 Day Spring Clean Challenge

Every year when spring rolls around I think: I should do some spring cleaning.  I think about cleaning out cupboards and stripping my closet of any neglected articles of clothing.

I love the thought of spring cleaning but when it comes to actually doing the work, I tend to stop at opening the windows.

Which, by the way, is amazing after a long winter.

What I’d really like to do this year is take a real, genuine go at some serious spring cleaning.  But not just the cleaning kind.  This year I’d like to spring clean my life and I’d like you to join me.

The Spring Clean Challenge

Here’s how it’ll work: Every week, for three weeks, we’ll focus on an area of the house and each day there will be specific tasks assigned.

For example: week one will be the kitchen.  So much to do in the kitchen!  But we’ll break it up into totally manageable tasks.  Like one day will simply be to clean the top of your fridge.  When was the last time you cleaned the top of your fridge?  But then another day might be to have a smoothie and I’ll post the recipe – a little spring cleaning for your body, but still happening in the kitchen.  See where I’m going with this?

So are you in?

All you have to do is join the 21 Day Spring Challenge Facebook Event.  Each morning, beginning April 1st,  I will post the task.  You do it, and then comment on the event to say that you did it.

AND every time you do post on the event page you will be entered into a draw to win something awesome.  That means if you post every day, your name will be added 21 times.  That’s a lot of times.

21 day spring clean

Join Me in Cultivating New Habits

Would you like to join me in cultivating new habits this year?  I’d really love it if you did.

Here’s what you do:

  1. Choose a habit.
  2. Begin today.
  3. Post your progress on social media (twitter, instagram, Facebook etc.) and tag it #cultivatinghabits.
  4. Hop over to Cultivating Habits on tagboard and comment on others success.

Not sure what habit you want to cultivate? Check out the habits I’ve been cultivating. There are some body habits and mind habits.   21 Day habits and 100 Day habits.

If you’d rather just follow along with me in my journey, you can subscribe (just over to the right there), or find me on Facebook or Twitter.

I’m very excited about this.  Can’t wait to hear about your habits!


Getting Rid of Bad Habits

Nearly all of the good habits I incorporated into my life last year were an attempt to get rid of bad habits.

Why didn’t I just focus on getting rid of the bad habits? Because that’s no fun. And according to the Power of Habit, you actually can’t get rid of bad habits.  They stick. In your brain.

Total downer.  I know.  BUT once you understand how habits work (cue/behavior/reward) you can begin to change your bad habits.

Don’t weed the dandelions!

Let me tell you a story.  There’s this guy, a landscaper in Toronto, who is renowned for cultivating the greenest grass.  Not a weed in sight.  One day someone asked him, how do you do it?  Every year I get these dandelions pop up, and I keep weeding them but they come back year after year.   How do you get rid of the dandelions?

His response was: don’t weed the dandelions.  Instead, focus on the grass.  Focus on building a strong foundation.  The good will overpower the bad.

Now, I don’t know very much about dandelions or landscaping, but I love this metaphor.  I tell this story in an Organizational Excellence workshop that I give in my job and in this context I reference people.  Your superstars are your grass.  Reward the good and be conscious of where you direct your focus and energy.

In the context of Cultivating Habits, I consider my good habits to be my superstars.  The more I focus on the good, the less “bad” I want to do.  For example, when I started this whole thing there were really two habits that I was looking to get rid of: be less lazy and spend less time on my computer.

I do agree with the cue/habit/reward paradigm, but my takeaway from that is that you can’t just weed the bad habits.  You gotta cultivate the good.

On Ridding Bad Habit #1: Be Less Lazy

Laziness is a bad state for me.  It’s the opposite of how I want to feel which is creative, passionate and inspired, yet every now and then I slip into this zone.   Especially in winter when it’s cold and it seems to take a lot of effort to do things.

In order for me to be less lazy I can’t just say ‘be less lazy’.  That’s like when you’re feeling sad and someone says ‘just be less sad’.  Doesn’t quite work like that.  When I’m feeling lazy I need something to get me going.  Something to take my mind off feeling lazy. Something specific.  Something that I enjoy.   It also has to feel easy and take only a minimal amount of effort.   And that’s where the idea of doing yoga came in.  And so I did it.  Every day for a year (and counting).  Sometimes only for 10 minutes, but it’s enough to get me up and out of that zone.

I’m still a little lazy, but only when I chose to be.  I know now that I have a ton of things I could be doing with my time.  Yoga and meditation has also helped me to be more aware of myself and when I feel I’m slipping into the ‘so lazy don’t want to do anything’ zone,  instead of saying “I should be less lazy” I get up.  I do things.

On Ridding Bad Habit #2: Spend Less Time on the Computer

Spend less time on the computer was a little different.  I found I was wasting so much time – particularly on social media sites that were not adding any value to my life whatsoever.  On too many occasions I would catch myself staring mindlessly at my screen well past 10 pm.  I knew it was draining my energy and I tried to stop.

So I told myself: no computer after 7 pm.

This lasted about three days.

It failed because I didn’t provide myself a positive activity to do in the meantime.  I got bored quickly and eventually went back to my old habit.

So instead of weeding this dandelion, I deliberately chose habits that would take me off my computer.  Namely reading.  Now before bed my book is the last thing I read, not Twitter.

When weeds pop up…

I try to do this every day.  Whenever a weed pops into my world, whether I’m having a bad day or trying to eat healthier, instead of directing all of my attention on the sore spot, I try (not always successfully) to focus on the good.

Think of a bad habit that you want to weed. What positive thing can you do that will shift the focus from weeding the bad to strengthening the good?   It’s worth a try.

Make this Year Awesome: The 4 Habits

My friend Zofia recently introduced me to the world of Robin Sharma.  He’s a leadership advisor who encourages people to go to the edge of their capabilities and I just love it.

The link Zofia sent me was to a series called “Your Absolute Best Year Yet“.  In the first installment he talks about the four habits that will make this year awesome.  Here are the 4 habits…

Make a one page plan.

Keeps things simple.  Articulates what this year is about.   He calls it your magnificent expression.  In your work, your business, financially. In your plan include:

  • Your three top values.
  • Your big 5.  What are the big 5 things that need to happen this year?
  • Your quarterly goals.

Get up early.

He says 5 am.  This gives yourself time to prepare for the day.  You take an hour to prepare yourself mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually for the day.  Spend the hour doing:

  • 20 minutes of exercise
  • 20 minutes of learning
  • 20 minutes journaling

Do a second wind workout.

Around 6 or 7 pm you do another workout.  He says when you transform your fitness, you transform your business. You’ll have more confidence. You’ll be happier.  You’ll feel more creative.  You’ll look better, you’ll feel better.  It doesn’t have to be intense.  You can:

  • Go for a walk for an hour.
  • Do yoga.

Become a master of your schedule.

He repeats “the things that get scheduled are the things that get done”.  Every Sunday morning he does a ‘weekly design schedule’.  He looks at the previous week and writes a follow-up on what he did every day. What worked for him?  What didn’t work?  How did he spend his days?  It becomes a game.  He calls it the story of his week.  “Build your days around your goals.  Build your days around your priorities.”

Your life is too important to waste.  Change is messy and uncomfortable at the beginning, but 40 days from now you will be playing at a level you never thought you’d be at.

What do you think?  Are these doable?

The Power of 10 Minutes

If you think you don’t have enough time to cultivate new habits, I challenge you to rethink how much time you need to spend on the habit.

I am able to do many of my habits in only 10 minutes.  Read, write, yoga, meditate.   When you plan to only spend 10 minutes on an activity two pretty great things happen:

  1. You actually start the activity.
  2. You end up doing more than 10 minutes.

The 10 minute trick works really well in the case of housework.  Watch this short video to see what I’m talkin’ about.