My Two Weeks of No Negativity

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Earlier this month I decided to try and make some positive changes in my life by trying to have two weeks of no negativity. My It’s Only Two Weeks plan is a way for me to start making changes for the better in my life.  In the past I have tried new experiences, cut out sugar for two weeks, did some good deeds for other people, stopped spending money for two weeks, and I even tried cooking regular meals for two weeks.

The reasoning behind my It’s Only Two Weeks plan is that two weeks is long enough to try and make positive changes become a permanent habit.  Over the past two weeks I tried to eliminate all negativity from my life, this includes everything from people who make me mad to clothes that make me feel bad about myself.

It is so easy to get angry at someone and express our negativity; but it’s not healthy and it doesn’t solve any of our problems.  Other people may make us angry but only we can bring negativity upon ourselves. I don’t like feeling sad or angry but unfortunately the easiest way to express my emotions is through negativity.  I am happy to say that I am working towards making positive changes.

Three steps to get the negativity out of your life:

1. Go Through Your Closet.  I would be lying if I said that my body image didn’t affect my mood on a daily basis.  If I don’t feel pretty, if I am having a bad hair day, or if I am not comfortable in my clothes I will most likely be in a bad mood.  It is so crazy that I let my appearance affect my emotions, but unfortunately it’s true.  Over the past two weeks I went through my closet and I got rid of any clothes that I haven’t worn in 6 months.  I also got rid of all clothes that don’t make me feel like a movie star when I wear them. In total I bagged up and donated 2 pairs of pants, 3 skirts, 6 shirts, and 2 business suits…and that is a positive change.

2. Be Anti Social.  This may seem a little bit weird because usually when we have a bad day the first person that we call to make us feel better is our best friend. Don’t be anti social with your friends; be anti social with the people who bring out your negativity. In any given day I come across at least a handful of people who I really don’t care for, and this is making me a very negative person. Most of the people who I really don’t care for work in my office so I can’t totally eliminate them from my life; but I can try to avoid them at all costs.  It’s better to be alone than to be negative.

3. Think Twice and Eat Less. Food plays a major role in my life, I could eat a piece of chocolate cake when I am celebrating something good that happened in my life, or I could eat a piece of chocolate cake to try and cheer myself up when something bad happened.  Although eating a piece of chocolate cake makes me feel better while I am eating it, I definitely feel awful afterwards.  I am trying to eat foods that give me energy and contribute to my overall good health, and I am trying to stop eating foods based on my emotions.

Are you trying to make positive changes in your life?

Love Always,

Photo by orsocurioso

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It’s Only Two Weeks of No Negativity

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Dear Diary,

It has been a while since I tried to better something in my life with my It’s Only Two Weeks self-improvement plan.  I recently noticed that I am becoming an extremely negative person, but that is going to change as of right now.

Two weeks is long enough time frame to try something out and see if you like it, two weeks is also long enough to get into a routine and change a bad habit.  Over the next two weeks I am not going to verbally express my negative feelings towards anything in or any aspect of my life.

Someone once told me that “Nobody likes a negative person.” I can confirm that this is definitely true because I personally don’t like negative people; this is why I am very surprised that I have become one.  In general I consider myself to be a happy person, but when something bothers me I am definitely vocal about it and I let it be known that I am unhappy. It is just so much easier to be naturally negative about a situation than it is to try and find a positive outcome.

Being a negative person is a personal choice and I am now choosing to become a more positive person. Being a negative person causes self inflicted stress, and no one needs more stress in their life. Negativity is not a desirable personal quality and it definitely is not appealing to others.

I have decided that I am not going to let the undesirable things in my life overshadow the positive aspects in my life.  After all, I do have a few great things happening in my life right now.  My freelance writing business is picking up and this means that I have more money in my pocket, the relationship with my boyfriend is going very well at the moment, and I have two trips planned in the next couple of months.

I am hoping that my negative attitude (mostly about work and my family) will change permanently into a positive attitude over the next two weeks as I try to see the happier side of every situation.

Will you join me in a negativity ban over the next two weeks?

Love Always,

Photo by michi

My Good Deeds

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I am happy to report that my recent It’s Only Two Weeks personal mission of doing good deeds (that don’t involve money) was a success.  I did one good day every day for the last two weeks, and it feels really good.  Actually it doesn’t really make that big of a difference in my life, but it may make a big difference to the people that I helped.

This it’s Only Two Weeks mission was inspired by an organization called It Starts With Us; they are changing the world 15 minutes at a time.  The idea behind this organization is that we are the ones who can make changes, and change in the world starts with us.  Doing a good deed for someone else may only take five minutes out of my day, but it may make the world of a difference for the other person.

You will notice that a lot of my good deeds have to do with patience.  I hate waiting, and I especially hate waiting for other people; this is why I am always late.  My good deeds have helped me learn the art of patience. I learned that it is very hard to try and look for and try to do a good deed every single day; but I did my best.

Here are my Good Deeds from the Last Two Weeks:

August 30 – I took the time to help my co-worker with something that I wasn’t even sure how to do.  When I couldn’t help I found another co-worker to assist.

August 31 – Even though I was already late for work in the morning, I held the elevator for my neighbour down the hall.  This added at least another 2 minutes onto my lateness but I did it anyways.

September 1 – I went out to get dinner for my Boyfriend even though I was already in my pyjamas and in bed.

September 2 – I held the elevator door in the lobby for a man while he loaded up the elevator with the new Yellow Pages books.  I even told him that they usually just stack the Yellow Pages books in the mail room and people who want them will go get them. This will save him some time.

September 3 – There was this lady in front of me in line at the pharmacy today and she was complaining about being charged an extra $0.51 on her bill. The cashier had to refund her entire purchase and rescan everything to double check the prices.  Normally I would make a rude comment and offer to give the woman her $0.51.  However, I just smiled and waited patiently.

September 4 – I didn’t do any good deeds today because I didn’t even leave my apartment. However, I did work on my book so at least I accomplished something.

September 5 – No Good Deeds today. I left my apartment briefly because it was Labour Day but not enough time to find a Good Deed.

September 6 – No Good Deeds Today.  I totally forgot.  It’s harder than I thought it would be to find non money related Good Deed.  I am enjoying this It’s Only Two Weeks personal mission because sometimes people take money for granted.

September 7 – Today I served a client during my lunch break.  I could have told her to come back after my break was over or to call our customer service center; but I served her right away.

September 8 – I let someone go ahead of me in line at Tim Horton’s today.

September 9 – I took a client for my co worker today. He was running late and I didn`t have a client at that time, but I was super busy with administration and follow ups from my busy week. I could have said no, and I should have said no because those extra 45 minutes with his client made me stay late after 5 pm on a Friday.

September 10 – Today a woman dropped her hat on the street and I picked it up and brought it back to her.

September 11 – I stopped and gave a couple directions, this is usually something I don’t do.

September 12 – I picked up a piece of Trash and put it in the Garbage Can…Totally Gross, but a Good Deed.

September 13 – Today I recruited my Manager as a Blood Donor.

It’s Only Two Weeks…Of Doing Good Deeds

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For my next t’s Only Two Weeks personal mission I have decided to do some good deeds for others.  This will not include any type of monetary donations and it will not involve any homeless people.  Every single day for the next Two Weeks I will do a good deed for someone else, maybe a friend or maybe a stranger; but nevertheless I will be doing good deeds.

I decided to do good deeds for others because so far my It’s Only Two Weeks personal missions have focused on personal growth.  I am happy to say that I am enjoying my life a lot more now than I was a year ago.   When I first started this blog as Madam Magazine it was filled with random posts that I thought people wanted to read.  However, I am happy to say that this blog has evolved into a personal diary about learning to be happy and learning to love the little things in my life.

I am not 100% happy right now, but I am definitely on the path to personal happiness. Besides, is anyone in life truly 100% happy? I don’t think so. I think that there are always things in our lives that we want to change and new things that we want out of life.  Unfortunately I no longer have my Dad and my Sister in my life thanks to my Evil Step Witch (aka my Dads girlfriend), but I also have no more drama in my life.  With everything bad comes something good, and I am trying to see my life cup as being half full.

My good deeds will help others, but they will also help me to become more selfless and less self-centered.  I don’t think that I am a selfish person, but because I live in Montreal and my closest family member is 500 kilometers away I am used to living on my own.  Fortunately I have the luxury to do what I want when I want to.  With my It’s Only Two Weeks of Doing Good Deeds I will learn to be more patient and I will learn that there are other people in this world, outside of my own personal bubble.

So to be honest I guess that my It’s Only Two Weeks of Doing Good Deeds is also about my personal growth.  There is an episode of friends where Joey tells Pheobe that there is no such thing as a selfless good deed, and I am beginning to think that this is true.  I don’t know for sure if a selfless good deed really exists, but I will let you know within the next two weeks.

Love Always.

My 3 New Experiences

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My last It’s Only Two Weeks mission was to start Trying New Things.  I have honestly really enjoyed experiencing new things, which was surprising because usually I am very adverse to change.  During my It’s Only Two Weeks mission I quickly realized that there are actually many new things that I want to experience.

Donating Blood

My 1st new experience was to Donate Blood. For the last 3 years every time I visit my family doctor for my annual physical he asks me why I’m not pregnant and why I haven’t donated blood yet.  So with my It’s Only Two Weeks of Trying New Things I decided to Donate Blood.

After a personal questionnaire, 2 mini interviews, and a quick physical I am sad to say that I was declined to Donate Blood.  It turns out that my Iron levels are too low to donate blood.  The Nurse assured me that my Iron level is not too low to be worried; it’s just too low to donate blood.  She gave me a list of foods that are naturally high in Iron and advised me to come back in 3 months to try and donate blood again.  Although I was really nervous and extremely disappointed, this entire new experience was not a total loss because I learned a lot about blood donations.

Here are Some Interesting Facts About Donating Blood:

-       We can donate blood up to 6 times a year

-       Each Blood Donation Saves 3 Lives

-       Our Iron level must be above 12.5 (mine is 12, below 10 is dangerous)

We Cannot Donate Blood if we:

-       Have been to prison in the last 12 months

-       Have exchanged money or drugs for sex since 1977 (The year that HIV/AIDS  entered into the United States and the year of the Anti Discrimination Act)

-       Are male and have had sex with a man since 1977

-       Injected Drugs through a Needle…even once

-       Are female and had sex with a man who had sex with a man since 1977

-       Have travelled to the United Kingdom, France, Western Europe or Saudi Arabia (for certain periods of time) between 1980 and 1996

MAC Makeup

My 2nd New Experience was getting my Makeup done by a Professional MAC Makeup Artist .  I inquired about the cost of a Professional Makeup session at the MAC store on St. Denis Street.  The regular rate for a one hour MAC Makeup consultation is $55.  However, a Makeup Artist at the MAC store on St. Denis Street informed me that every so often MAC hosts special events where they offer a 30 minute Makeup consultation for only $50, and we get $50 worth of free MAC Makeup products.  I put my name down on their client list, and I’m still waiting for the call.

The Botanical Gardens

My 3rd New Experience was visiting the Botanical Gardens in Montreal.  Even though I have lived in Montreal for 10 years I have never visited the Botanical Gardens.  My boyfriend’s Mother is visiting from out of town and we spent last Sunday at the Botanical Gardens.

The Montreal Botanical Gardens is a huge green space in the middle of the city that has a Chinese Garden, a Japanese Garden, a Rose Garden, and a First Nations Garden.  I have to be honest the Chinese Garden was my favourite.  The Japanese Garden was a lot of trees and bushes; it was more of a green space than a garden.  The First Nations Garden was essentially just a forest; it looked a lot like how I pictured Forks Washington from The Twilight Saga.  There was also a Flower Garden full of Lily’s, Poppies, and other flowers. The Flower Garden was just how I pictured the Queen of Hearts Garden from Alice in Wonderland.

Each Garden has an educational spot where we can learn about the different traditions of each culture.  We can learn Calligraphy in the Chinese Garden, Origami in the Japanese Garden, and Woodworking in the First Nations Garden.

The price to visit the Botanical Garden for a day is $14, and this includes a visit to the Insectarium.  We can also add on a visit to the Bio Dome for an extra $10.  If we don’t have time to visit the Botanical Gardens, the Insectarium, and the Bio Dome all in one day we have 30 days to return and visit the Bio Dome.

Here are some things that I still want to do:

-       Ceramics or Pottery

-       Pull a fire alarm

-       Judge something…anything

-       Chocolate body wrap at a day spa

-       Manicure and pedicure at Rouge Nail Salon on St. Laurent

It’s Only Two Weeks…Of Trying New Things.

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Happy Canada Day!  It’s officially July 1, and that means that my It’s Only Two Weeks diet plan is officially over.  After three months of cutting out sugar from my diet, eating more fruits and vegetables, learning to cook healthier, and exercising at least 3 times a week I am sad to report that I lost absolutely no weight.  I am still holding steady at 137 lbs and my goal weight of 125 was not achieved.  But that’s ok, I am just going to get liposuction and get it over with (joke).

I really enjoy my It’s Only Two Weeks plan so I am going to stick with it.  However instead of being a weight loss plan, It’s Only Two Weeks  is going to become a personal goals/mission plan.  In an effort to live a happier life full of great experiences I am going to work towards various personal goals…two weeks at a time.

It’s July 1 and the beginning of a new month, which means that it’s time for a new beginning and time to try new things.  There have been a few things in my life that I have always wanted to do, but never accomplished for one reason or another.  That stops right now! My first It’s Only Two Weeks personal goal/mission is to try new things and have new experiences.  During the first 30 years of my life I didn’t really want to try new things or live through new experiences, but that also stops right now!

I am actually excited to try new things.  I am not necessarily going to face my fears, but I am definitely going to try new things. So far my list includes giving blood and getting my makeup done by a professional.  I don’t wear makeup a lot but I would like to see what it is supposed to look like.  And besides, who doesn’t want to be a glamour girl for a day?!

Love Always.

It’s Only Two Weeks…Of Cooking

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June 1st marked the end of my last It’s Only 2 Weeks Mission of working out at least 3 times a week and starts my new mission of learning to cook.

After 4 missions and no weight loss I have decided to choose cooking as my next mission.  I have tried adjusting my eating habits, cutting out excessive sugar, and working out at least 3 times a week and I have yet to lose any weight.  The weird thing is that I feel better, I look better, and my clothes fit a lot better but on the scale I haven’t lost any weight.

I enjoyed my 2 weeks of trying different types of exercise.  I learned to Latin Dance, I learned the Basics of Kung Fu, I tried a TRX training class, as well as a Zumba Dance class.  Working out at least 3 times a week was one of my 2011 New Year’s Resolutions and I am definitely going to keep up with it.  I have also developed a love of running on the treadmill.

I enjoyed trying new ways of working out, and I look forward to learning how to cook.  It has been one of my personal resolutions for many years to try and learn how to cook but so far it has only been a good effort with little success.

As my 4th It’s Only 2 Weeks mission I decided to learn to cook foods with a purpose.  Foods that will increase my brainpower, increase my stamina, and work as anti oxidants.  On my list of things to learn to cook are Eggplant and Asparagus because I really enjoy eating both, but I have no idea how to cook either of them or use them in recipes.  I will also learn to cook Quinoa, the new low carbs high protein side dish.

When I eat healthier I feel better and now my eating habits have permanently changed.  I drink more natural fruit juice instead of iced tea.  I drink a maximum of 1 diet coke per week and I don’t even crave it anymore, I only drink it out of habit.  I have substituted most carbs and sugar for fruits and vegetables.  Instead of eating a sandwich with chips or cookies, I have a salad or mixed veggies.  I have a newfound love for carrots and cucumbers which I often eat as snacks or side dishes to fill up.

Love Always.

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It’s Only Two Weeks…Of Exercise

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Last Saturday marked the end of my 2nd attempt of my 2nd mission to cut out all additional sugar from my diet for 2 whole weeks.  I am proud to say that my mission was successful.  I lost 2 pounds, and I am now back down to my original weight of 137 lbs. I have to admit that I still crave sugar, but now I can control the temptation.  I have also continued the developed eating habits from my 1st mission which was to eat fruits and veggies with every meal.  I am eating healthier and I am averaging at least 4 servings of fruit each and every day.

I like working towards short term goals, and I like changing my eating habits to support a healthier lifestyle.  I have learned a lot about portion control and I now walk both to and from work every day.  Unfortunately I have also learned that I know absolutely nothing about weight loss.  I originally started my It’s Only 2 Weeks Diet Plan to lose weight and be happier with the way I look.  I know this is totally superficial…but hey, what can you do?  I have added a lot of fruits and vegetables into my daily diet which eliminates carbs and adds nutrition.  I have also adapted to eating less refined and processed sugar in the form of desserts, chocolates and other sweets.  However, I have yet to lose any weight.

I am going to continue with my It’s Only 2 Weeks Diet Plan because I learn something new with every mission.  Each two week mission gives me something to look forward to, as well as a sense of accomplishment when the mission is successful.  I have changed my eating habits, now I am going to try and lose weight by sweating it off.

My next mission is to work out at least 4 times a week for the next two weeks.  From May 14 to May 31 I am going to try my best to experience new genres of fitness which include stripper pole dancing, a tap dance class, Zumba dance classes, as well as a hot yoga session (I have always wanted to try it).  I am also going to search the city for inexpensive (or free) ways to work out around Montreal.  If you have an exercise idea or if you want to join me in any of the exercise activities please let me know.  Be sure to keep reading over the next few weeks for exercise updates.

Here is my progress so far with my It’s Only Two Weeks Diet Plan:

Goal                            Mission          Weight Loss    Total Weight

Eat Fruits &Veggies   Successful       Unsuccessful      137 lbs.

Cut Out Sugar              Unsuccessful   Unsuccessful     139 lbs

Cut Out Sugar              Successful        Successful           137lbs.

It’s Only Another Two Weeks

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Yesterday marked the end of my two weeks without sugar.  I am sorry to report that my mission to consume no additional sugar for two whole weeks was unsuccessful.  I am happy to report that I definitely cut down on my sugar intake over the last two weeks, but I did not cut out sugar completely.

It was hard to not have a small Iced Cap from Tim Horton’s everyday and it was harder to avoid Cadbury chocolate mini eggs during Easter.  I had a total of 4 small Iced Cap’s from Tim Horton’s over the last two weeks, which is a big improvement from drinking one a day like I used to.  I also ate a lot of Cadbury chocolate mini eggs on Good Friday.  I am happy to report that I did not have any other chocolate except for that one day, but the mission was unsuccessful nevertheless.

Not only did I not complete my mission of cutting out all additional sugar for two weeks, but my one day chocolate binge actually caused me to gain 2 lbs.  It is safe to say that this mission was definitely unsuccessful.  Therefore, I am going to try again.  For the next two weeks I will once again (try to) consume absolutely no additional sugar in the form of iced coffee, chocolate, sweets, candy and desserts.

My It’s Only Two Weeks weight loss plan is all about changing my daily habits.  I am happy to report that although it hasn’t always been pleasant, my daily habits have changed.  When I crave something sweet I try to drink fruit juice instead of eating chocolate.  I learned that once a day we can substitute a fruit serving with a glass of fruit juice.  I try to eat fruit and vegetables with every meal; and instead of eating sugar and carbs throughout the day, I try to eat fruits and veggies for both my morning and afternoon snacks.

Two weeks is a long time to be without something that I enjoy, and it’s also just enough time to get used to a new routine.  Although my missions and weight loss have not always been successful, I do feel better when I eat healthier.  It is so easy to grab a quick bagel or have a bowl of cereal throughout the day, and before I know it the day is over and I have not eaten any fruit and veggies.  I don’t want to live without sugar and sweets, I just don’t want to have to live with them.

Goal                                     Mission                   Weight Loss                  Total Weight

Eat Fruit/Veggies                 Successful                  Unsuccessful                     137 lbs.

Cut Out Sugar                      Unsuccessful              Unsuccessful                     139 lbs.

It’s Only Two Weeks

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In an effort to keep myself busy over the next few months, and hopefully lose some weight at the same time, I have created a new weight loss plan.  One of my ongoing Goals has been to lose the last 15 to 20 lbs of my excess weight.  I can’t seem to break free from my current weight…which fluctuates between 134 and 138 lbs.

My weight loss goal is purely for aesthetic and superficial reasons, I don’t want to be skin and bones, I want to be curvy and sexy.  I want my boyfriend to want to watch me walk away!  I want to keep my 36 Cs and my (sort of) J-Lo booty.  My target area to lose weight is in my mid section (on both sides); I also want to tone my arms and thighs.

My Problems with Weight Loss

I am a picky eater and a vegetarian, so my food choices are very limited.  I eat a lot of sugar because it makes me feel full, and I recently gave up donuts for Lent.

I don’t eat a lot of food, therefore I don’t take in a lot of calories, therefore I don’t have a lot of energy, and therefore I don’t work out.  I also love to sleep, I would rather take a nap than work out.

I never stick to a plan for my weight loss goals because focusing on the long-term is boring and I tend to lose interest very quickly.

Diets are usually very structured and I am a total commitment phobic.   Setting strict goals does not go over well with me.  Having to eat specific foods at specific times and working out on specific days totally freaks me out.

My New Weight Loss Plan

My new weight loss plan is a result of my return to the corporate world, I have decided to treat my new weight loss  plan like a business plan.  I will set goals, track my progress (on this blog), and make any necessary adjustments.

My new weight loss plan is called “It’s Only Two Weeks”.  Two weeks is a very short period of time,  therefore the odds of me losing interest are very slim.  However, we can also make very big changes in only two weeks; we can take a two-week vacation, or we can give two weeks’ notice to our employer.  Two weeks seem like a reasonable time frame to make changes but not get bored.

If I do get bored and want to quit I will keep telling myself to stick with it because “It’s just two weeks”.  A change every two weeks gives me something to look forward to, and it gives me something to work towards.  My overall new mentality will help lead to my weight loss success.

The breakdown of my “It’s Only Two Weeks” Weight Loss Plan

It started yesterday on April 1, 2011 and it ends on July 1, 2011.

Over the next three months I will focus on individual 2 week goals to help me attain my long-term goal of losing 20 lbs.  Each two-week goal will be something new that I have never tried or achieved, this allows my new diet plan to double as a way for me to experience new things.  Until very recently (one of) my personal motto was “Why be different, when I can just be me.”

I will work out (any) 3 days a week.  I will alternate between walking, swimming, the Jillian Michael’s Yoga DVD, and other various workout DVDs such as Pilates and the Biggest Looser Boot camp.

Honourable Mentions

I have already cut down immensely on my Diet Coke intake.  I usually have one can a week and this week I threw half of it out.

I went to GNC to find some type of supplement that will stop my sugar cravings and give me more energy.  Unfortunately the sales clerk was unhelpful, but he did offer to massage my head?!?!

My weight loss goal will not cost me anything, except my usual price for groceries.

My First Two Week Goal is to eat 5 servings of fruits or vegetables EVERY DAY.  Right now I eat 2 or 3 servings, and sometimes I eat none.

Since I am neither a dietician, a doctor, or a personal trainer I have no idea if my new weight loss plan will actually help me lose weight.  However, it will give me something to focus on over the next three months…Two weeks at a time.