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New Year’s Resolutions During Uncertain Times

When I tell people I’m an Agile coach, most people look skeptical – or at least confused. (I can be quite awkward in athletic endeavors.) The “Agile” adjective, in this case, refers to a philosophy and project management system that helps teams with productivity in the midst of change and uncertainty.

Without going into a big lecture answering the question “What is Agile?” (you’re welcome), I’ll just highlight a few of the concepts which might help you with your New Year’s goals during these very uncertain times.

And let’s face it, we are always facing changes and uncertainty, so you’ll probably find this is a better way to work with New Year’s Resolutions every year!

Break Your Goals into Iterations

One BIG problem with New Year’s resolutions is that a year is way too long to commit to a detailed goal.  Too many things might derail your plan. One of the keys to handling uncertainty is to execute in short iterations. You might have fuzzy high-level plans, but your detailed plan should only be for the short-term. Then you can learn and adjust as you go along if and when you run into something unexpected.

Instead of trying to lose 50 pounds in a year, maybe your high-level goal could be to develop better lifestyle habits. Your short-term goal might be to take action designed to lose some weight in the next week. It’s a lot easier to stay motivated if you think in small iterations. Big goals can seem overwhelming, but often taking that first step is just what’s needed to get motivated.  Then you can check at the end of the week to see if you lost weight and how much.

Make your specific and detailed plan just for your iteration, in this case, one week. Plan out the healthy meals you’ll make for yourself and what exercise you’ll do. Or, perhaps you’ll keep it simple by simply cutting out desserts. However, plan your details only for one week. Think of it as an experiment.

Reflect, Celebrate, Adapt

One of the most important parts of the Agile frameworks is to consistently reflect, learn, and improve.  At the end of our iteration, we would take the time to measure to see if our short-term goal to lose some weight is being accomplished with the actions we’re taking.

Whether or not the goal of losing weight was achieved, what was learned? If you lost more than expected, how did it feel? How was your energy? If you didn’t lose any weight, what will you do differently next week? 

Regardless of whether or not you lost weight, celebrate your complete week and what you learned in some way with a creative ceremony or ritual. Maybe share a new healthy recipe or go for a hike.  Plan your meals and activities for the next week, taking into account what you learned.  Personally, I’m incorporating a Self-Spa Sunday ritual, ending my week with a luxurious bubble-bath while I reflect on the ups and downs of the past week and anticipate my future week.

When the Unexpected Happens

Let’s say you have an unexpected injury and you can’t execute the short-term exercise plan you had in mind.  Go back to the original purpose of your goal.  You want to develop healthy life-style habits. Are there forms of exercise you can do, in spite of the injury? Can you adjust your meal plan for the next week to take into account the changes? Maybe your plan for the following week is to focus on PT or sleep to improve your overall health rather than trying to lose weight. Be flexible and adjust your short-term plans to take into account any changes, but keep your long-term end goals in mind. 

I’ve used healthy habits and weight-loss as an example here, but you can use these techniques for any goal. Split big goals into smaller ones, and have fun while you learn, improve, grow and celebrate along the way.

Want to Celebrate Monthly?

I’ll be hosting monthly “New Month’s Eve” virtual celebrations so that people can share progress on their goals or share a positive thing about the current month and plan for the following month. Join the Carpe Diem Connections Facebook Group to find out more.

Healthy Habits and the Optimal Living Daily – Vibely Challenge

I just LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the new year. I know, I know… it’s just like any other day and we shouldn’t “wait” to start improving ourselves, but I just get so much MoJo on January 1rst! And, honestly, I let my normally disciplined-self slack a bit in the last two weeks of the year. You know the drill… over-eat, over-drink, and generally slack on all my “goals”.. with the knowledge I’ll be super-motivated in the New Year to get back to my healthy habits!

One of those healthy habits that I’ve developed in the past couple of years is walking regularly, often while listening to inspiring podcasts. One of those podcasts is Optimal Living Daily where it was announced that 15 lucky people would receive a free OLD workbook for talking about self-care practices that have worked. I’m supposed to respond via Vibely, which is a fun app that offers challenges to the community, but.. this would be too long to type in an app! I’ll just send a link!

I’ve figured out that living a meaningful life is not just about where we physically go or what we do, but what is occupying our minds. We only have a finite number of days on this earth and I want to spend those days wisely by making intentional decisions about how I’m spending my time and who I’m spending it with. When I’m alone, my brain is still thinking and I want those to be POSITIVE thoughts!

By listening to Podcasts about positive life-style habits (such as Optimal Living Daily) and participating in various positive communities (such as those offered at Vibely) I’m regularly feeding my mind with positive ideas! I subscribe to positive newsletters, have taken 4 different really interesting courses about the Science of Happiness, have great self-help apps on my phone, and regularly interact with people who feed my soul.

Vibely, also, is fun, for people like me who love prompts and challenges! There’s an OLD (as in Optimal Living Daily.. not “senior”) community that you can find on Vibely and participating is just a really fun way to virtually meet like-minded people and follow through on your goals! My only feedback for this is that I wish there were a version for my laptop. I much prefer communicating with a full-size keyboard rather than the tiny keyboard on my (very small) phone.

All of this has changed my overall mindset to one which is much happier. Though I’ve heard it’s natural for our brains to first see the negative in the events of our day, these practices have helped me train my brain to naturally see the positive in each event… even things that in the past would have made me feel upset, I view as a challenge to find the positive. When I get criticism, it doesn’t feel good, but I now am much more able to be grateful rather than defensive about the feedback.

By the way, this isn’t the first time I’ve given a shout-out to the Optimal Living Daily podcast! It was also the spark that I needed to start my own podcast, Carpe Diem Connections!

What positive self-care habits do you have?

Joy and Technology

Technology (Zoom) let my Mom see all her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren on Easter, 2020.

It’s the end of the year and time to wrap up Season 2 of Carpe Diem Connections and the Joy Makeover. This week Becky Burns and I talk about the Love/Hate Relationship many people have with technology.

Though technology can be frustrating, I’m grateful that it allowed us to have virtual family gatherings throughout the Pandemic.

Ingrid Fetell Lee talks about 6 ways to use technology to cultivate joy and refers to her interview with Pamela Pavliscak, a futurist and designer who embraces a philosophy called positive technology.

With the New Year around the corner, you might want to check out Pamela’s suggestions for a year of positive technology with different themes each month.

The Joyspotters Society Facebook group is another great opportunity to experience social media at its finest. The posts are joyful, kind, and inspiring. So rather than “doomscrolling” why not do some “gleefreshing”? (For other new 2020 words, check out this quiz!)

We wrap up our podcast episode talking about the wonderful communities that are available that spread happiness, including ActionForHappiness.org.

This and other Websites that spread positivity can be found on the home page of this site, CarpeDiemDay.com.

Do you have a favorite Website, social media group, or app? Are there others you’d like featured on CarpeDiemDay.com? Join the discussion on the Carpe Diem Connections Facebook Group!

Finding Joy During the Holidays

Let’s face it, this holiday season is tough for many people this year. Even in “normal” years, holidays can be tough because we all want to create this magical feeling – we want to create and experience joy. When we can’t celebrate with the people we’re missing or practice our traditional rituals, we can get frustrated, sad, or just spiral into depression.

In this week’s podcast, Becky Burns and I talk about our holiday experiences and how we hope to find joy during this season.

For those who are grieving:

We recognize that many are experiencing grief.. I mentioned being interviewed by Dr. Patti Ashley in November about grief.

I also want to mention this Webinar about combatting holiday loneliness.

Creating new traditions or celebrating in new ways:

In the podcast, Becky talks about Kwanzaa being celebrated from Dec.26-Jan.1 and how each day represents a theme that we can use as a prompt to take action and find joy and meaning in our lives.

I also mentioned how my friend, Shalini shared her Rangoli art in her Covid-safe celebration of Diwali on the Quiet Value Women forum.

I love learning about new traditions and celebrations and hearing how people are finding joy in creatively celebrating.

Ideas for celebrating:

We usually end our podcast episode with suggestions of how our listeners can find more joy. This week, I’m pulling from Pamela Gail Johnson’s Society of Happy People (SOHP) newsletter:

  • Count your blessings if your healthy enough to breath, eat, and get out of bed — because that’s loving yourself. 
  • Ask someone how they are REALLY doing in a private conversation? Sometimes people are hurting but don’t post it on social media or tell you if you don’t ask. We simply assume they are okay because they appear content or show a happy face.
  • Say kind words to someone — we could all use a little more kindness right now.
  • Watch your religious services online.
  • Spend time in meditation or prayer so you can personally connect with God or your idea of the universal power that’s bigger than you.
  • Be a Secret Santa — bake cookies for a neighbor, drop off a plant, or send someone a card.
  • If you can afford it — donate to a food bank, toy drive, or give a gift card to someone you know is financially challenged.
  • Share one of your signature holiday recipes with those who won’t get to eat that dish at one of your annual gathers so they can still enjoy it. Food is love that nourishes the body and soul. 
  • Look the people in your physical bubble in the eye and TELL them how much you love them. And call or zoom with your family and friends to do the same. One day those will be words they’ll rehear when they need to hear your voice–and there’s no better message than letting someone you love know you love them. 

Joy and Food

Food! It brings me joy just thinking about it!

This week on the Carpe Diem Connections podcast, Becky Burns and I continue with the next topic in The Joy Makeover. We talk about foods that bring us joy and energy and how to be intentional about our eating habits.

We discuss the video interview between Ingrid Fetell Lee and Sarah Copeland and how coming from a mindset of abundance can help us resist overeating.

We each set goals for ourselves about how we could increase our joy with food and mine was to have a weekly new, healthy recipe. Becky suggested we check into Sarah Copeland’s recipes. What a great idea!

Another excellent resource for happiness is Happify. In my daily newsletter yesterday, there was an Infographic about why savoring makes us happier with a section about food!

What foods bring you joy? What foods energize you? Come join the discussion in the Carpe Diem Connections Facebook Group!

Making Room for Joy

How do you make room in your home for Joy? Listen to this week’s episode of Carpe Diem Connections where we are talking about decluttering to make space for the things that bring us the most joy.

On this week’s episode of Carpe Diem Connections, Becky Burns and I continue exploring the link between Joy and our “stuff.”

Last week, we talked about finding more joy in experiences than things. This week in The Joy Makeover , Ingrid Fetell Lee talks to Gretchen Rubin, author of Outer Order, Inner Calm, about decluttering and how that can help us make more space for joy.

Tune in to hear our thoughts about clutter and how we plan to make more space in our homes. Then chime in with some of your own ideas on the Carpe Diem Connections Facebook Group page.

Meet my adopted flamingo, Kazi

Flamingos have been my personal mascot for many years now. When Sarasota Jungle Gardens offered the opportunity to Adopt a Flamingo last April, I was so excited! 


Because of Covid, the park was closed at that time, but I was very impressed with all the paperwork I received in the mail, telling me about my adopted flamingo, Kamikaze – “Kazi” #38.

A couple of weeks ago, my friend, Amy Sargent, posted a cute picture on Facebook of a flamingo “kissing” her and, upon further inspection of its tag with a photo zoom, we found out it was none other than #38 – Kazi!   Imagine that! Without Amy even knowing I’d adopted a flamingo, she posts a very cute closeup picture with Kazi! Out of all the flamingos in the world, what are the chances?

There are many beautiful flamingos and birds at Sarasota Jungle Gardens and many that didn’t come out to greet the park visitors. How lucky for me that Kazi is so sociable and photogenic!

I get a chance to “flamingle” with Kazi and friends. I had them eating out of my hand!

I’ve been especially lonely for a pet lately. With all the travel that I usually do, it’s not very practical for me to own a pet, but this is a very cool alternative! Since I hope to make Sarasota a regular winter destination, I’ll be able to visit Kazi and his friends at least every year. 

Spending Money for Joy

Our topic this week on the Carpe Diem Connections Podcast is about Joy and Money. We’re doing a deeper dive on the topics found from Ingrid Fetell Lee’s Joy Makeover.

The material from the Joy Makeover includes an informative interview with Elizabeth Dunn, author of Happy Money: The Science of Happier Spending.

In this season of gift-giving, we’re all hit with decisions about how we’re going to be spending our money.

Tune in to this week’s podcast about Joy and Money to hear some thoughts from my co-host, Becky Burns and me, as we explore our own history with money and spending.

Join us in the Carpe Diem Connections Facebook Group and share your own thoughts! Are you a spender or a saver? Experiences or things? What were some of your favorite gifts – both those you gave and those you received?

Finding Joy in Relationships During the Holidays Despite Covid19

Ideas for making the holidays fun with creativity in finding Joy in Connections during the holiday season.

In this week’s Carpe Diem Connections podcast Becky and I continue exploring the Joy Makeover and the topic is Joy and Relationships. We talk specifically about ways to connect with others during this 2020 holiday season when stress levels are high. Many of us are doing Thanksgiving a little differently this year due to Covid 19 restrictions.

Here’s an article I read just yesterday with some creative suggestions for new Thanksgiving traditions.

One new activity that I’ve been doing a lot more of during the pandemic is writing cards the old fashioned way! I had sealing wax as a kid and I wanted to give that a try again and discovered now the sealing wax comes in all these different colors that you can mix together! I also ordered a “Carpe Diem” stamp, ordered up beautiful postage stamps and other goodies, and now I look forward to my monthly cards and letters tradition!

This month, I sent out Thanksgiving cards to my family. Even though I won’t be able to be with them personally, it’s fun to send the cards, and do online games.

Wanna go above and beyond?

You can participate in sending cards to isolated seniors, check out: https://loveforourelders.org/letters.

Another nonprofit that is sending cards and letters to those in need is http://www.moreloveletters.com/