WELCOME to The Lovely Grind's Lovely Living Tips, a somewhat random collection of ideas and suggestions to make your life better. Enjoy these ideas and share them with your friends, with your family members, and maybe even with your boss or coworkers.

Lovely Living Tip #1: Reverse Snooze in the Morning

Try setting the alarm twenty-five minutes early a few times during the week. Use the first five "extra" minutes to make a cup of coffee, then use the remaining twenty minutes to wake up slowly while drinking your coffee and reading devotions and/or journaling in bed. Set the tone for the day. Don't let it be set for you.


Don't want to bother that someone sleeping next to you? No problem. Throw a scarf or a light towel over your nightstand lamp before going to bed at night. Better yet, make the reverse snooze a couple's thing.

Lovely Living Tip #2: Try for 1% Change

Are you looking to improve some troublesome aspect of your health, your professional situation, or your finances? A lot of us get into bad habits and sticky situations gradually, over the course of years, so we have to remember that reversing those ships takes a little bit of time, too.


Instead of getting overwhelmed by the distance between your current situation and your ultimate goal, try for 1% change each week. In a little less than two years time, that's going to be 100% improvement. And if some goal of yours is going to take longer than two years to reach, then try for 0.5 % or 0.2 % change each week. (You get the idea.) Remember, any step in the right direction is better than doing nothing.

Lovely Living Tip #3: Make at Least One Worknight a Movie Night

Whether you have a large family or are still living single, try to plan a worknight that finishes off with a little comfort food, a drink or two, and a movie that you have been wanting to see. Identify which night will be the week's movie night on Sunday already so that you can look forward to it at the beginning of the week.


For example, looking forward to pizza and a great flic on Wednesday night can really serve as motivation to make it to that halfway point of the workweek.

Lovely Living Tip #4: Frontload the Week with Workouts

Try to get in two or three exercise sessions before the halfway point of the week even arrives. For example, squeeze in thirty minutes per day on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday.


Not only will such frontloading of the week's workouts help you to better deal with the increased workplace stress that seems to accompany the beginning of each week, but it will allow you to ease up a little on fitness activity as you approach Friday and Saturday (if you choose to).

Lovely Living Tip #5: Get a Head Start on the New Year

Have you been thinking about some major changes you'd like to see in your life next year? Then why not get a small start on one of those changes right now so that you feel accomplished already heading into the Christmas Season?


For example, if your fitness goal is to run 5 consecutive miles consistently next year, then get started on that now by reading about running and by doing small workouts that allow you to run a mile or two by New Year’s Eve. This sort of "Headstart" strategy can be applied to any goal of yours—professional, financial, relational, whatever.

Lovely Living Tip #6: Get Enough Protein

Did you know that adequate protein consumption isn't just for bodybuilders? We all need sufficient protein to build muscle, promote healthy hair and nails, and maintain smooth hormone function. Aim for about .75 grams of protein per lb. of body weight (1-1.25 grams per lb. if you are lifting weights).


Good sources of protein are Greek nonfat yogurt, chicken breasts, Boca chicken patties, pork chops, and of course whey protein powder that can be mixed into cups of yogurt, pancake recipes, or shakes. Optimum Nutrition is a quality and affordable brand of whey powder that can be used for cooking as well as for shakes. Vanilla flavor whey works best for cooking.

Lovely Living Tip # 7: Always Carry a Thumb Drive

Many of us work at a computer for at least some of the day, so why not carry a personal thumb drive (flash drive, USB drive) that you can plug into any computer at any time in order to do a little personal note-taking during the workday (during down time, obviously. Obviously).

Carrying a thumb drive at all times is a great way to stay connected to personal resolutions and projects throughout the workweek. You can update household budgets, vacation ideas, exercise routines, or reading lists, and by doing it all on a thumb drive, you never have to save personal files on your work computer. Just remember to always save your personal files to the USB drive, and remember to remove the drive from whatever workstation you are using before you leave for the day.

Lovely Living Tip #8: Make a Weekly Schedule Every Sunday

At the beginning of each week, make a short list of what you need/want to get accomplished during that week. You can divide the overall to-do list into several categories like household items, fitness items, etc., and then you can draw up a tentative schedule of which items you hope to complete each day.

Just remember that your schedule has to be "tentative." Goals and schedules have to be somewhat  flexible so that they don't stress us out rather than making our lives better.

Lovely Living Tip #9: Add 5 New Songs to Your MP3

Exercise can get repetitive, and workouts (especially cardio) can start to seem stale when you are always listening to the same music. Every few days (at least once a week), take a few minutes and add songs to your playlists to keep things fresh. Aim for five new songs at a time. There are multiple free YouTube to MP3 converters that you can use online, so start looking up more songs today.

Lovely Living Tip #10: Kill the Cable Bill

Probably the easiest and most instantaneous way to start saving money is by cancelling your cable television. Nowadays you just don't need it. You can get most of the new DVDs/Bluerays at the library for free, and you can get a variety of local TV channels with a $ 20-50 antennae from Best Buy. Also, for about $10 a month, services like Netflix will give you more programming that you can watch.


Not only can you save about $1,200 a year or more by cancelling cable, but you can also get the peace of mind that comes from shutting out 24-hour news and reality TV.

Lovely Living Tip #11: Put Some Distance Between Yourself and the Negative

What's been dragging you down lately? Has it been a person? Is there a friend or a family member who wears you down emotionally with constant negativity? Or does that scenario describe a coworker of yours? Is there someone close to you who just doesn't set goals or ever get excited about new things?


You have to feel free to step away from such negativity for a while. Remember that you aren't obligated to get dragged down by anyone in such a way. Don't abandon the people who need you, but give yourself needed space. And after a few weeks or months of needed distance, then maybe revisit the situation to see if that person has changed his or her negative ways. Remember, you are what you let into your head and heart, so take in more positivity.

Lovely Living Tip #12: Remember to Take Breaks

Maybe this sounds simple, but we all need to be reminded of the simple stuff at times. Whether you are at work or just working on a project at home, remember to step away for a bit to clear your head. If we forget to do this, then we run the predictable risk of plunging into an irritable or creatively stifled place that might last all day or longer.


So, if you want your work to be truly productive, remember to step away from it for a minute or thirty or whatever makes sense. You can make a snack, watch YouTube videos for laughs, or get in a workout. Then, when you feel refreshed, you can get back to attacking your projects like a boss.

Lovely Living Tip #13: Picture the Pain Behind the Actions

Do you have a troublesome coworker, boss, family member, or friend who has been making problems for you or puzzling you with bizarre behavior? Is there someone who turns every day into a boxing match or a soap opera? Have you ever tried to imagine why that person might be acting out?


The next time someone is frustrating you with childish or aggressive behavior, try to imagine what situation that person might have in his or her personal life that might be causing such behavior. This little exercise might help you to find a way to reach out to that person in order to improve the situation. And if the situation between you and that person doesn't end up improving, at least you have developed a greater capacity for understanding people.

Lovely Living Tip #14: Don't Assume That Other People Are Smarter Than You

Every day we are bombarded with images of rich, famous, successful people. Our Facebook feeds are overwhelmed with people saying, "I've accomplished more than you," and even at work we might look at our bosses or others and wonder why we haven't moved higher up the proverbial ladder yet. We might start to put ourselves down and assume that others are just more clever or talented than we are, but such self-depricating thinking might be the real reason we haven't found our own dreams yet.


You should never assume that someone is smarter than you simply because they put on a show of whatever success they've enjoyed (or simply because they are louder or flashier than you). You have talents, ideas, and a lot of worth to offer the world, but you have to believe in yourself instead of comparing yourself to others. Believe in your own ideas and your world will start opening up in beautiful ways.

Lovely Living Tip #15: Refine Your Personal Mission Statement

Have you been pulling yourself in too many different directions recently? Are you feeling overwhelmed or maybe even feeling like a failure because you can’t make progress on every front that you’d like too? If so, then maybe it’s time to define and refine your own personal mission statement. Instead of obsessing over a list of 15 or 20 things that you’d like to accomplish, think about who you are and what you believe in, then write a mission statement for yourself along with a list of two or three concrete ways to move in the direction of that statement. Also, remember that it’s okay and necessary to reevaluate your statement and the direction of your life every few months or so.

Lovely Living Tip #16: See Yourself as a Star

Too often we are our own harshest critics. Too often we look in the mirror and see flaws and mistakes. Too often we retreat into our heads and get caught up in negative or critical thinking about ourselves.


What about if you saw yourself as a star instead?


This year, elevate your own opinion of yourself. See yourself as the star of the show instead of as a bit player. Congratulate yourself more and take care of yourself more. You are just as valuable to the world as any Hollywood sensation or rockstar is, so remember that fact and start living accordingly.

Lovely Living Tip #17: Remember an Accomplishment

Have you been feeling down about yourself lately? Do you ever go through periods of feeling small or worthless? If so, then you need to remember who you really are: someone who has already accomplished a great deal.


Today, think back to a great accomplishment of yours. Whether that accomplishment involved graduating high school or college, reaching some fitness goal or yours, helping a friend or family member during crisis, or leaping over some intimidating hurdle in your professional life, it proved your character, right? So this week remember how strong and talented you really are, then start moving forward with that picture in your mind.

Lovely Living Tip #18: Believe Until the Bitter End

In the world of sports, heart-stopping comebacks and last-second victories don't happen because an athlete gives up hope in the face of adversity. On the contrary, the athletes who are successful keep believing until the bitter end. They keep focused and hopeful, even when things are looking bleak and the clock is ticking down, and good things often happen as a result.


Don't ever give up hope that your victory is right around the corner. Don't think that you are too old or too beaten down to realize great things. Just stay focused and keep believing in your talents and your ideas over the course of the next year. Keep believing and good things will happen as a result.

Lovely Living Tip #19: WALK IT OFF


Never underestimate the rejuvinating powers of a good walk. The next time you are feeling fatigued, frustrated, or just fed-up, get outside and give yourself the benefit of  a leisurely walk in nature. This is more about mental and emotional cleansing than it is about exercise, so feel free to take it nice and slow (if you so desire). You'll be surprised by how even 20-30 minutes of outdoor walking can hit your reset button in a major way.

Lovely Living Tip #20: Keep Them Close

Your God, your loved ones, and your dreams: these are things that you have to keep pressed close to your heart at all times. During difficult periods, it can seem tempting to retreat into a solitary place of empty despair. When we are in the midst of a particularly troubling health, financial, or professional situation, we might feel that God has abandoned us, our loved ones can't help us, and our dreams are foolish or frivolous. However, we have to keep the best parts of our existence especially close to us during troubled times. That way our character is forged into something that won't easily bend. ALWAYS KEEP THEM CLOSE.

Lovely Living Tip #21: Mind Your Roots, Expand Your Horizons

Some people say you have to remember where you come from. Others say you ought to keep your eyes focused on your future. So which of these is the correct approach to life? The answer is both. We need to balance a firmly grounded sense of our past with enthusiastic ambitions for our future. Only by tending to our roots can we truly grow.

This week, think of how your family, friends, and past experiences have helped to develop the best of who you are right now, then resolve to bring that best self into new experiences, new relationships, and broadened horizons. Remember who you are and get excited about who you will become.

Lovely Living Tip #22: Get Back to Basics

If you've worn yourself down lately by looking for a new path in life, then maybe it's time to get back to the basics so that you can restore yourself and get back on track. What simple strategies for happiness have worked for you over time? Return to those for a while. What sorts of thoughts and projects always seem to cause you too much stress? Eliminate the repeat offenders.


Self-made complications are often the hallmarks of modern neurosis, so the next time you are feeling out of sorts, get back to the basics to restore your sense of calm and your stamina. Eat mostly healthy foods, drink enough water, get enough rest, stay away from stressful people and situations, get enough physical activity in a day to sweat, get out of the house for a bit, and in your spiritual life, believe with the faith of a child.

Lovely Living Tip #23: See Beauty Everywhere

The smoggy hustle and bustle of life can beat a person down until all we see is dirty streets, rude people, and a hundred headaches waiting for us each day. But we have to remember to look for the beauty amidst it all.


This week, try to find beauty when you are feeling beat down. Look for unique (humorous, artistic, or uplifting) billboards and bumper stickers when you are stuck in traffic, try to find a profound smile or a gentle set of eyes when you are walking in a crowd, and try to see the good and all of the potential inside of friends and family members, especially if you have been lost in a fit of fighting or nit-picking lately. There is beauty all around. Look for it.



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