The 21 Day Challenge To Becoming a Better YOU

It takes 21 days to make something a habit, so for 21 days try these six tips to improve yourself. They will not only make you feel better, but make your days better.

#1- Don’t Complain

Why Complaining Is Holding You Back & How To Stop -> Examine, reflect and be aware. And stay positive.

On average, a person complains at least 30 times a day. How many times do you think you complain on a daily basis? Because I know I complain a lot, whether I am complaining about the rain, how cold it is, how slow people are driving, or even how much homework I have everyday. Complaining is negativity coming out of your mouth. Imagine if instead of saying negative things, you said positive things. Like how much you love the sound of rain, snuggling up in a blanket when its cold, or how relaxing driving slow is. Your attitude and outlook on the day would make a complete 360. So try it! Don’t make any complaints about the events of your day.

#2- Spread Kindness

Throw Kindness Around Like Confetti

Be friendly to everyone around you. Compliment a stranger. You never know how someones day is going. Words of kindness could bless someone. Even a simple smile at someone passing by will not only make them feel warm, but make yourself feel good also! So for the next 10 days, make it a point to be kind to everyone you come in contact with.

#3- Avoid Procrastination

What Will You Do Today That Shapes Your Tomorrow? - Muscle & Fitness Hers

Procrastination is one of the biggest things I personally struggle with. Especially when it comes to homework; I refuse to do it until the night before. Procrastination brings a ton of stress on yourself. Make goals and follow through with them. Create a to-do list, give yourself a time to have things done by, and follow through with it. You will have so much free time to do activities that you actually want to do.

#4- Be Accepting

We are trained in this society to reject anything that we don not understand. Elevate your mind.

Not everyone you come across will have the same morals, standards, beliefs, and style of clothing as you. Everyone is different, therefore you should be accepting of all kinds of people. A girl has one shoes that you don’t like, oh well. Just because it is not your choice doesn’t mean its wrong. So accept all people, all situations, and all outcomes.

#5- Volunteer and Serve Others

Often the best way to see the needs of others is to stop looking at our own. -Kristen Welch

Serving others should be a big priority. It goes along with spreading kindness. When you do good things for others with a genuine servants heart, good things will come unto you. You don’t have to go to a shelter to serve, you can serve in your neighborhood, at your school, or you can even serve your family. For 10 days, find a way to bless others.

#6- Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Get out of your comfort zone

Most the time people stay in their comfort zone because they are scared to try new things. But it doesn’t have to be a big deal. Do small things, like try food you’ve never had before, or do a new hairstyle. Take baby steps. Getting out of your comfort zone will make your life more exciting. You don’t have to live life on the edge, but lets try not to live life in a box.

Good luck! I hope that you not only try these things, but that you are consistent and it works for you. That you will feel more encouraged and more confident than ever. Here’s to a better you!

– Jasmine

“When you have a bad day, a really bad day, try and treat the world better than it treated you.”

Something that I think should be very prominent in young adults’ lives is the thought “do good things and good things will come your way”. The good karma that people put out in the world not only helps people who could be in need but it also makes you feel good about yourself. Feeling down or stuck in a rut? Go pack a couple lunchbags for the homeless in your town. A movement called #HashtagLunchBag is one way that shows how you can pay it forward.

Here’s a quick video that shows a small group of people coming together to make a difference in their local community. Kindness is contagious and it only takes a few people to start a movement.

With busy lives, it can be hard to find time to volunteer. But if you’re reading this blog you’ve found time to surf the web when instead you could be feeding the homeless or making blankets for the less fortunate. So reach out to your community, or even just your neighbors.

Or something else you can do is volunteer at the Boys and Girls Club of America. You can become a homework helper, or maybe even a youth sports coach! It all depends on what your interest are and how much time you have to dedicate. But I guarantee you’ll make the kids day just by smiling and being a strong, positive role model.

Here’s a link to help you find your local club:

http://apps.bgcayouthnet.org/2006/clubs/default.asp

SO GET OUT THERE AND MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

~Meeka

Rain, Rain, Come and Stay

Find Beauty in Rain     vertical print by thewheatfield on Etsy, $18.00

I don’t know about you, but it felt like summer dragged on a bit longer than normal this year. Classes started and I was ready to start wearing my fall outfits and my nice snug boots, but instead I was wearing my summer dresses, shorts, tank tops, and flats. I mean, it was nice and all, but I was ready for the wonderful fall weather that comes around each year. The leaves of trees were changing color and pumpkin spice lattes were back, but it just felt so out of place because of the warm weather. However, do not fear, wonderful blog readers. The cold weather is striding in. Some of you may like it and some of you may not. I personally love the rain and snuggling with my blanket and a nice cup of something warm. Here are some more ideas for you to make your rainy days a bit brighter.

1) Bake some yummy goods

You may be stuck inside, but that does not mean you have to be bored. Make your favorite baked dessert or try something completely new.

Homemade Pumpkin Roll -- simple to make, and filled with a delicious cream cheese icing | gimmesomeoven.com #dessert

2) Read a book

Grab your favorite blanket to snuggle with on the couch and open up the window blinds as you read a good book. There’s something relaxing about reading a book and listening to the rain fall and watching it outside your window.

Everything is better when it's raining... Repinned by www.loisjoyhofmann.com I agree, Because when it's raining, I give my self permission to just sit and bury myself in a good book.

Watch a movie

Warm up some hot chocolate, pop the popcorn, and put on your favorite movie. There’s no time like the present 🙂

4) Finally, my personal favorite, PUDDLE JUMPING.

There is no need to stay in doors at all times while it’s raining. Put on your rain boots and go outside in the rain. Remember, you’re never too old to play in the rain

Well, there’s some of my ideas for a rainy day. Enjoy!

 

~Kat

Trouble Cutting Fruit? Fear no more!

Summer’s here. Yup, let the sun rays flow… In my mind, this means BRING OUT THE FRUIT (not that it HAS to be summer to eat fruit, but sweet goodness is it delightful to be grinding on some watermelon chunks or pineapple while basking in the sun). So, I thought I’d address all those who have ever had the same revelation as me… HOW ON EARTH DO I CUT UP SOME OF THIS STUFF?

In college, I came home one day with a pineapple and cantaloupe in hand, and was super stoked to start munching on them. It had been a LONG week, and all I wanted to do was sit back, relax, and chow down on some good fruit. That’s when it hit me. I had no idea how to cut it properly.

So! If you’ve ever had that same kind of moment of panic, OR, don’t want to in the near future if you have a lack of fruit cutting experience, I’ve done some research for you.

FIRST UP: Of course, that darn pineapple. Why does it have to be such a pain… Or is it?

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EASY ENOUGH! Next, watermelon.

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Sweet. (Get it, cause watermelons are sweet?) How about this nifty one with kiwi’s!

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Awesome. Now check this one out! Super neat.

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Cantaloupe time! One of my favorites.

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Can’t forget this. MANGO’S.

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Those are the toughie’s!  But you can also go grab some strawberries, blueberries, bananas, cherries, grapes, pears, and so much more! From there, the options are endless. You can make a fruit parfait, a fruit shishkabob, salad, toss them all in a blender and make a smoothie, or just go with the classic: EAT THEM AS IS.

There are tons of ways to cut all these different kinds of fruit up, but if you’re at a loss like I once was, you can start here! I hope your summer gets a little more fruity with these step-by-step instructions. Enjoy!

~Jaynani

QUESTION of the Day

I was asked the question the other day… “What are you doing right now that is requiring faith?” But don’t just immediately write this one off because of what the religious background (or lack of) that you come from is. Get this: IT DOESN’T MATTER. The question stays the same.

Google’s definition of faith is this: the complete trust or confidence in someone or something. Synonyms: trust, belief, confidence, conviction

The question can simply be, “Where in your life do you have to find strength and courage to persevere?” Or even, “Where in your life do you have to truly trust in a friend or a family member, or even your own abilities?” “Where in your life do you have to BELIEVE that something good will happen, or something good will come out of these trying times?”

After some thought, my answer was, “I’m trying to let go of the things I can’t change With that answer, it broke down to three different sub-groupings: past, present, and future things. Certain things on my heart; certain things I felt like I couldn’t do alone; certain people I knew I couldn’t reach out to every day like I’d want to; certain UNcertainties that had to do with my future; and certain memories I knew I just couldn’t change. Those were the things in my life that were requiring faith.

So, I’m keeping this rather short, or at least more to the point. WHAT ARE YOU DOING RIGHT NOW THAT IS REQUIRING FAITH? Right now. At this moment. Dig deeper for this one. Look somewhere in your heart or in your mind that you’ve been avoiding to look at in a while, to confront. Because here’s the deal: When you answer this question, this is the real answer you are giving: I AM STRONG BECAUSE... Think of the harder things. By doing that what you’re truly saying is, “I am strong because I have dealt with this in my past,” or “I am strong because although I don’t know how to go about this situation, I AM STILL GOING…” That’s the key. Still going: A process. You’re not supposed to have some concrete answer. You’re supposed to wrestle with it. You’re SUPPOSED to see how strong you are…

If this question is easy for you, then I challenge you to go even deeper; to try and see even clearer; to try and be even STRONGER.

~Jaynani

Laughter… You’re actually becoming HEALTHIER!!!!

I don’t know about you, but there is not much laughter can’t fix… At least in the moment. I don’t mean the “ha ha, that was a corny pun, Daniel,” kind of laughter. I mean the deep-rooted, snorting-triggered, body-aching belly laugh. There is truly no moment for me that can’t be fixed by that kind of laughter.

But here’s the thing: This isn’t just a personal remedy, it has been PROVEN by research that laughter brings about tons of health benefits! So… Laugh a little more in your day, and become healthier? Now how on earth can that be true? Well, here’s 7 research based proven benefits to laughing.

  1. Laughing lowers blood pressure

Lowering your blood pressure, no matter what starting levels they may be at, helps reduce the risk of strokes and heart attacks. That should be reason enough to laugh a little more!

  1. Laughter reduces stress hormone levels

The benefit of reducing stress hormone levels are infinite, but the obvious one includes making cuts to the anxiety and stress that impacts your body. On top of that, reduction of stress hormones in your body may result in higher immune system performance. In other words, laughing along with your buddy’s jokes at the end of a long day can not only help reduce some of the stress and anxiety you’ve built up, but also help keep you from getting sick! Sounds good to me.

  1. It’s a FUN ab workout!

Alright, everybody has to have felt this feeling at least ONCE in their life before, and screamed these words during a deep belly laugh… “Stop making me laugh! My belly hurts!” I think one of the coolest benefits of laughing (because keeping you from having a stroke or heart attack or building up your immune system is totally not as cool), would have to be that you are helping TONE YOUR ABS when you laugh! When you are laughing, the muscles in your stomach are expanding and contracting, similar to when you are intentionally exercising your abs. So… Laugh and look GOOD. That should be a bumper sticker.

  1. Laughing improves cardiac health

Laughing is also a great cardio workout, especially for those who are unable to do certain physical activities due to an injury or illness. Laughing gets your heart pumping, and burns calories. Again, how is this not reason enough?

  1. It BOOSTS T cells

Laughing boosts T cells, which are specialized immune system cells just waiting to be activated. When you laugh, you are basically giving permission for TAKE-OFF for those cells to immediately begin to help you fight off sickness.  So next time you feel like there’s a cold coming in, try adding in a few chuckles.

  1. Laughter triggers the release of endorphins

The job of an endorphin is this: To be the body’s natural pain killer. So when you laugh, you release endorphins that can help ease chronic pain. You know, like what the medicines that cost the big bucks do.

  1. Laughing all-around produces a general sense of well-being

Research has proven that laughter can help increase your overall sense of well-being. Doctors have found that people who have a more positive outlook on life tend to fight diseases better than people who tend to be more negative. So, when you smile and laugh, you can live longer? That has GOT to be enough reason why you should add more laughter in your day.

 

Yes, the deep-rooted belly laughs are great. But really, just a chuckle, or even a giggle can do so much for you. If I am being literally benefitted health wise by doing something that brings me joy, something that means I am having a good time, well then count me in. So think about this the next time you’re feeling stressed, anxious, like you’re getting sick, can’t be physically active, want to have a more positive outlook on life, or you just want to know you have given yourself a nice exercising touch to your day. Laughter can do the job! So, go ahead and get your giggle on!

 

 

~Jaynani

Searching for beauty? Searching in the wrong places? Just go WANDER!

Being new to write to this blog, I skimmed through a vast amount of the previous things that have been talked about or shared here. It didn’t take long for me to realize what I wanted to contribute first…
A common theme that I have recognized in this blog has been the idea of beauty and what it should mean to us. Beauty that is real, though, rather than a false expectation or image of something that doesn’t exist. In Alyssa’s February 20th entry titled “Be Your Own Kind of Beautiful”, she stressed true INNER beauty. Beauty that goes far deeper than what kind of clothes you wear, what the shape of your body is, or what color eyes you have. It’s about seeing something honest, something true, something real in a world that has become more and more artificial or engineered.

Well, beauty can be seen in many places. One place I’ve learned to find it is in NATURE. So, I give you this: A rather famous quote that may look short, but can take you the distance…

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Playing video games, browsing your social media, watching great movie hits: These are all things that I do as well. I would be a complete hypocrite if I said to quit doing all those things. But there is only so much of technology you can take before getting caught up and stuck in the false beauties the world offers. It is EASY to look at magazines and wish that was you when you see pictures like that every single day on Instagram. And it’s EASY to feel your body isn’t shaped right when you see women portrayed like mighty goddesses in games or on the internet or in television shows. But when you find time to just wander… To “lose yourself” in a green world of nature that only has and only knows TRUE beauty… Then that’s when you begin to see with a new pair of eyes. That’s when you see what real beauty is.

Here are some pictures I took just last weekend at a place that is 13 minutes away from where I live. A place with infinite trails that allows you to just wander…

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Now here’s the real test: I challenge you. Yup, I said I challenge you. You don’t have to go climb a mountain (unless that’s your kind of thing), but just get outside. WANDER. Even if you’re in a place where there aren’t many trees, go take a walk. Or sit on a bench and watch the clouds. Or find a good place to watch the sunset… Or even the sunrise! (You gotta get up early for that one, which is REAL hard for me, so kudos to you if you can) But just go outside. Find what is bare but authentic, what is simple yet real… Find something that is beautiful.

~Jaynani

How to Get the Best ZZZZZ’s

I don’t know about you, but as the school year is coming to an end, I am getting more and more sleepy throughout the day. I wake up feeling groggy and not very rested, when I wish I felt more awake and ready to tackle my day. So, what can we do to make sure we are well rested and ready to face the challenges of a brand new day? I did some research and found some pretty awesome tips that I would like to share with you.

Tip #1: Keep a consistent sleep schedule 

You want to be able to keep a consistent sleep schedule throughout the week. Yes, this even means not sleeping in on the weekends…GASP!! I know, but believe it or not this actually helps make you feel more rested. You should be going to bed and waking up at about the same time everyday so that you can regulate your body clock. By waking up and going to bed at different times, your body clock is stuck trying to catch up and figure out what is going on each day, which causes you to feel more tired. So, remember, stay consistent.

Tip #2: You SNOOZE, you LOSE

Hitting that snooze button over and over again will actually make you feel more tired, even though you think it will help you feel more rested. Your body will try and go into a sleep cycle, but if it is interrupted every 10 minutes by you hitting the snooze button, it will leave you feeling lethargic for the rest of the day. YIKES!

Tip #3: Watch what you eat and drink before you sleep 

Things like caffeine and sugary candy are not the best things to eat before bed. Nothing bothers me more than having my wonderful sleep interrupted because I have to go use the restroom. So, drinking lots of liquids before bed are not a good idea unless you want to make several dashes to the restroom.

Tip #4: Dim the lights!

An hour or two before bedtime, you should dim the light on all devices (phone, laptop, tablet, iPod, etc.) to help get your body into sleep mode. Bright and flickering lights from your different gadgets can put your body into awake mode, so try not to use them before bed, or at least dim them as much as you can.

Tip #5: Avoid doing work on your bed 

Even though it may be very comfortable to do work on your bed, it can also lead to you associating your bed with the tough, daily grind you go through. This may make it hard to disconnect work and sleep while you are drifting off into dreamland. So, try and do your work/homework in other locations.

Tip #6: Work it out

Surprise, surprise, regular exercise will help you sleep better. Add that to your list of reasons for why you should work out

 

I hope these tips are helpful for you!!

~Kat

Feeling Stressed or Angry??? Be Careful!

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I don’t know about you gals, but the last few weeks have been super stressful for me. And the everyday gloom of a rainy winter isn’t helping. When I happened to come across this picture during one of my “I-have-so-much-I-could-be-doing-right-now-but-instead-I-am-going-to-spend-hours-on-pinterest” moments, it really got me thinking.

I think the message of this quote is extremely important. Especially while we are young and feel like we are on top of the world. The decisions we make now can and will effect us for THE REST OF OUR LIVES

As we get older, our responsibilities and decisions begin to pile up. And honestly, it gets hard.

But that doesn’t mean we should make excuses or stupid decision. Have you ever seen the Snickers candy bar commercials where there is a large, often angry and loud being in the midst of a group of friends? And then the friends tell the creature to eat a snickers because “you aren’t you when you are hungry”?

This is so true. When someone is hungry, they often become irritated and easily frustrated. As Snickers suggests, you can become a monster.

You also aren’t you when you are tired, angry, scared, or stressed. Here are some simple ideas of how to manage some of those stressful or angering moments.

Stress:

  • Get some sleep!!! With homework, school, sports, television, phones, friends, family, and all the other busy parts of a teens life, getting 7-8 hours of sleep seems nearly impossible. However, sleeping gives your body time to relax and reload itself, and is one of the most important stress relievers
  • Social Media  This may sound like I am asking you to give up your life, but trust me, taking some time and stepping away from the constant stream of Facebook status’, instagram posts, and tweets will drastically eliminate some of that stress. Just try it and you’ll see! Constantly being connected means that there is no time to just be you. And being you is the most important thing you can do!
  • Go outside! When you were a kid, did your parents ever tell you to get outside and get some fresh air? I know mine sure did…. But they were right.  The refreshing air and open space will do wonders for your stress level.
  • Exercise While enjoying the outdoors, try going for a walk, run, play some frisbee, play tag with your friends, go on a hike, climb a tree, or any other physical activity you enjoy. Not only has exercise been proven to reduce stress and clear the mind, but it is also good for your health! And you can eat that extra cookie without feeling so guilty! =D
  • Talk  If you are feeling overwhelmed, don’t ever be afraid to talk to someone. Try a close friend, a teacher, parent, school counselor or anyone else you feel comfortable with. Also… don’t forget that the staff here at YO are always willing to talk to you too!!

Anger

  • SLEEP Just like with stress, getting plenty of sleep will reduce your irritability and therefore make you less likely to get angry.
  • Take time for yourself  At the end of the day, you are are what is most important. Make sure you respect yourself and your body by taking time away from distractions such as media, friends, and school, and your phone to just be you. You could try journaling, working out, doing crafts, or just sitting still and relaxing.
  • Admitting your anger is the first and most important step to getting over these emotions. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to be angry, it is a completely normal thing to feel.
  • Talk it out! Just as with feeling stressed, talking about your feelings is extremely important.

Hungry 

  • Eat Something! Chocolate is always a good choice!! =D

~Alyssa

This Year’s Hilarious, Memorable Academy Awards

All across the the globe, people gathered to watch the 2014 Academy Awards on Sunday night. Sadly, I did not get to watch the whole thing; but in case you haven’t noticed, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and every news site seemed to explode with the highlights of the Academy Awards. All week, my newsfeed has been blowing up with news about the show and all the funny moments that I missed out on. So, I am going to share some of these memorable moments with you all, in case you didn’t get to watch, either.

First, let us not forget the fact that Ellen Degeneres literally BROKE Twitter with her famous group-selfie during the  Awards. Yes, Twitter shut down because so many people were commenting on her photo.

The 27 Best Moments From The 2014 Academy Awards

Who on earth breaks Twitter? I didn’t even think it was possible. Oh Ellen, you have proven us wrong. It was a pretty epic group photo. Sadly, not everyone made it into the picture.

But sadly Liza Minnelli didn't make the cut:

Liza Minnelli (in the dark blue) didn’t quite make it into the picture. But it wasn’t a total loss. Don’t they both look wonderful?

When Ellen took this selfie with Liza Minnelli:

Now, someone who I was quite excited to see was Jennifer Lawrence, and of course she made quite the entrance.

And if that wasn’t embarrassing enough, her track record of tripping was brought up in front of everyone.

And how great is it that Ellen bought pizza for EVERYONE in the room?

The 27 Best Moments From The 2014 Academy Awards

And apparently it was really, really good pizza.

And we witnessed Brad Pitt chomping down on some pizza:

On top of all of that, there were some pretty sweet dance moves as well.

The 27 Best Moments From The 2014 Academy Awards The 27 Best Moments From The 2014 Academy Awards The 27 Best Moments From The 2014 Academy Awards

It seems like it was truly a wonderful night. The icing on the cake was Steve McQueen’s excitement when 12 Years A Slave won an award.

And when Steve McQueen was ecstatic over 12 Years a Slave winning:

What did you think about the Academy Awards? What were some of your favorite moments? Let us know! Goodbye for now.

When Ellen became Glinda:

 

~Kat