Consistency

With the exception of failed relationships and personal hygiene, I’ve never been very good with consistency.  It’s not for the lack of trying, though.  I want to be meticulously manicured from week to week, floss every day and attend church every Sunday, but along comes the weekend and already I’m thinking, “I’ll go to church next Sunday.”  That was two years ago and with the exception of visiting historically significant churches during my vacation, I have yet to step into church for Sunday mass.

 So, I vow that for the remaining months of this year, I will undergo a vast uphaul and rededicate myself to my priorities.  I found these helpful suggestions in turning changes into habits in ten simple steps.

1. Commit to Thirty Days – Three to four weeks is all the time you need to make a habit automatic. If you can make it through the initial conditioning phase, it becomes much easier to sustain. A month is a good block of time to commit to a change since it easily fits in your calendar.

2. Make it Daily – Consistency is critical if you want to make a habit stick. If you want to start exercising, go to the gym every day for your first thirty days. Going a couple of times a week will make it harder to form the habit. Activities you do once every few days are trickier to lock in as habits.

3. Start Simple – Don’t try to completely change your life in one day. It is easy to get over-motivated and take on too much. If you wanted to study two hours a day, first make the habit to go for thirty minutes and build on that.

4. Remind Yourself – Around two weeks into your commitment it can be easy to forget. Place reminders to execute your habit each day or you might miss a few days. If you miss time it defeats the purpose of setting a habit to begin with.

5. Stay Consistent – The more consistent your habit the easier it will be to stick. If you want to start exercising, try going at the same time, to the same place for your thirty days. When cues like time of day, place and circumstances are the same in each case it is easier to stick.

6. Get a Buddy – Find someone who will go along with you and keep you motivated if you feel like quitting.

7. Form a Trigger – A trigger is a ritual you use right before executing your habit. If you wanted to wake up earlier, this could mean waking up in exactly the same way each morning. If you wanted to quit smoking you could practice snapping your fingers each time you felt the urge to pick up a cigarette.

8. Replace Lost Needs – If you are giving up something in your habit, make sure you are adequately replacing any needs you’ve lost. If watching television gave you a way to relax, you could take up meditation or reading as a way to replace that same need.

9. Be Imperfect – Don’t expect all your attempts to change habits to be successful immediately. It took me four independent tries before I started exercising regularly. Now I love it. Try your best, but expect a few bumps along the way.

10. Use “But” – A prominent habit changing therapist once told me this great technique for changing bad thought patterns. When you start to think negative thoughts, use the word “but” to interrupt it. “I’m no good at this, but, if I work at it I might get better later.”

11. Remove Temptation – Restructure your environment so it won’t tempt you in the first thirty days. Remove junk food from your house, cancel your cable subscription, throw out the cigarettes so you won’t need to struggle with willpower later.

12. Associate With Role Models – Spend more time with people who model the habits you want to mirror. A recent study found that having an obese friend indicated you were more likely to become fat. You become what you spend time around.

13. Run it as an Experiment – Withhold judgment until after a month has past and use it as an experiment in behavior. Experiments can’t fail, they just have different results so it will give you a different perspective on changing your habit.

14. Swish – A technique from NLP. Visualize yourself performing the bad habit. Next visualize yourself pushing aside the bad habit and performing an alternative. Finally, end that sequence with an image of yourself in a highly positive state. See yourself picking up the cigarette, see yourself putting it down and snapping your fingers, finally visualize yourself running and breathing free. Do it a few times until you automatically go through the pattern before executing the old habit.

15. Write it Down – A piece of paper with a resolution on it isn’t that important. Writing that resolution is. Writing makes your ideas more clear and focuses you on your end result.

16. Know the Benefits – Familiarize yourself with the benefits of making a change. Get books that show the benefits of regular exercise. Notice any changes in energy levels after you take on a new diet. Imagine getting better grades after improving your study habits.

17. Know the Pain – You should also be aware of the consequences. Exposing yourself to realistic information about the downsides of not making a change will give you added motivation.

18. Do it For Yourself – Don’t worry about all the things you “should” have as habits. Instead tool your habits towards your goals and the things that motivate you. Weak guilt and empty resolutions aren’t enough.

Sunday Night Spa

For as long as I can remember I’ve always had trouble sleeping.  Nowadays, I’ve tried to make a habit of unwinding Sunday night by taking a long, hot shower, making sure I’m shaved, waxed and plucked, a facial, a foot scrub and if I have enough time a manicure/pedicure all while sipping hot Sleepytime tea without sugar. 

Lately, I’ve been obsessed with face masks.  It started during my layover in Korea while on my way to a trip home to the Philippines in 2009.  I bought a pack of twenty-four strawberry yogurt masks for $13 in duty free.  I’ve been trying different kinds ever since. 

Tonight, Itried an anti-stress masque I picked up at Walgreens; I bought six individual packets,two for $3, probably one of the better deals I’ve found so far. 

I like this mask; it had a pretty lavender flowery design on the mask itself, but it was the relaxing and tingling sensation that really resonated with me.  I kept the mask on for five minutes, but decided to keep it on longer for an additional five.  Afterwards, I splashed cold water and patted dry.  Immediately applying Ole Henriksen’s Truth Serum Collagen Booster on my entire face and neck as an overnight moisturizer.  I’m hoping with this calming mask, Sleepytime tea and Tylenol PM I’ll be hitting the sack a tad bit earlier than usual.

MMK- Bulaklak (Flower)

I’m a sucker for corny love stories so its such a treat because MMK features Bangs Garcia and Rodjun Cruz this weekend.  Even better, it’s a love triangle.  Unfortunately, it features a much younger man, Isyot (Rodjun Cruz) who in my opinion, isn’t the cutest thing on earth and the older police chief, Manuel (Gabby Concepcion) who despite his years is holding on fairly well to his good looks.

I’m not familiar with Rodjun Cruz.  Somehow I glossed over him while following Tayo’ng Dalawa.  He’s Rayver Cruz’ younger brother.  I don’t know much about the Cruz brothers except for that unfortunate incident involving Sarah Geronimo and Rayver’s denial of their relationship.  Even worst, Rayver moving on to court and ultimately announce Christine Reyes as his girlfriend.

Manuela moves to the town of Saranggani.  She has moved to be with her older brother to continue her studies and work in a local shop .  When her brother is needed in Manila, he leaves her in the care of Isyot, one of his close friends.  While her brother is away, all the available men in the area try their luck at courting her by way of harana. 

Harana is a traditional form of courtship in the Philippines in which a man woos a woman by singing underneath her window at night. Although this is universal, it was widely practiced in old Philippines with a set of protocols, a code of conduct, and a specific style of music.

Manuela isn’t interested in entertaining suitors (obviously she’s already made her choice) but when Isyot shows up.  He ends up being the best singer (of course!) but not the most good-looking. Jake Paul with a speech impediment was in that bunch.  Honestly, Jake Paul’s rubbed off on me while I was following Alyna for a while.

One night because of all the haranas, the police are called due to the noise.  Manuel is the police chief and after being yelled at by Manuela who insists they limit the harana hours until 9 p.m, ends up showing up at Manuela’s house to court her.  Manuel is a sweet, stable and respectable member of society; he is a widower and finds solace in Manuela’s sweet and caring nature.  Isyot is besides himself when he encounters Manuel courting Manuela. To appease Isyot’s jealousy, Manuela agrees to be his girlfriend.  Although by this time, you know they’re in love.

Isyot and Manuela’s relationship advances quickly until Isyot decides he wants to do a pamanhikan or pamamanhikan.
Pamamanhikan or pamanhikan is a Filipino tradition of asking the parents of the Filipino woman for her hand. In this custom, the would-be groom and his parents go to the would-be bride’s home. Gifts of food or other items are brought by the proposing family. Once the proposal has been accepted, other matters discussed during this meeting include the wedding plan, the date of the wedding, the budget for the wedding, and the list of guests. The expenses for the wedding are generally shouldered by the family of the groom.

Manuel is besides himself when he learns Manuela has agreed to marry Isyot and asks whether she is sure.  Manuel tells her that she makes him alive and hopeful for the future.  She considers marrying him as well.  Manuela is torn between her love for Isyot and Manuel until Isyot is jailed.  Manuel gives Manuela a ultimatium: marry him and he can help get Isyot out of jail.  Manuela loves Isyot, so she agrees to marry Manuel.  True to his word after Manuela agrees, Manuel helps Isyot get out of jail.  He is met with a letter telling him Manuela has agreed to marry Manuel.  Once they’re married, she is unable to tell Manuel she loves him.  He says it all the time and she manages a weak, “Take care.” 

One night after Manuel leaves home for his shift, Isyot shows up on Manuela’s doorstep and begs her to run away with him, but Manuela decides to not show up at the designated meeting site.  Finally, Manuel asks her the most dreaded question, “Mahal mo ba ako?” Do you love me?  Manuel decides to let her go.  So, Manuela meets with Isyot to tell him she’s decided to stay with Manuel because she can’t imagine hurting the man who helped Isyot be released from jail and has given her so much.  So, she tells Isyot, “Good-bye” and goes back to Manuel to tell him she loves him.  At the end, Manuel and Manuela’s car stalls at the side of the road and it ends up being Isyot who helps them start the car and before leaving thanks them both for helping him out of jail.

Hmm, my first initial reaction?  Dumb to agree to marry two men in the first place.  Second, dumb to ignore love and end up choosing someone because you feel sorry for him.  Third, I’m being judgemental. 

But, I have every right to be.  Ever been in a loveless marriage before? I have.  It wasn’t fun, it wasn’t tolerable nor was it with anyone I can picture myself being with until this day. I don’t believe he’s a bad man, maybe at the time I did.  After all, being punched in the face or being threatened with a knife to the neck and stomach during two separate incidents wasn’t fun, but I did learn some valuable lessons.

1) Never marry someone unless you love them.
My take on this is, it may have worked back when women were still dependent on men for financial stability.  Nowadays, women are slowly closing the wage gap and we continue to prove we can do it all.

2) Marry someone you can stand talking to if nothing else.
When you’re old and gray with weak knees and unable to have sex, you’ll thank me.

3) Always have a back-up plan
Don’t merge all your finances. There should be one joint checking account for all household expenses and one joint savings account for all shared future goals.  Then, you should have a personal checking account and savings account for personal expenses and goals for yourself.

4) Don’t ever fake a headache or sleep rather than have sex.
Honestly, I can’t imagine doing this again EVER but then again my hubby now is really good at what he does.  Not to mention, sex provides relaxation, stress relief and puts me to sleep faster than a sleeping pill ever could.

5) Know that material possessions will never make your marriage better.
I’ve never tried this but I’m certainly open to counseling.  I realized I learned so much of my purchasing habits during my dysfunctional marriage.  To quell the animosity and the urge to cheat, I bought stuff, lots of stuff but at the end none of these things helped me when I decided to leave.  It just made leaving difficult and a lot more work.

6) Never live with in-laws.
I love my soon-to-be husband and I love my family but I do not love them together.  I commend couples who live with immediate, extended or with the whole family but I do not want my hubby to be exposed to my family’s lunacy.  I love him too much to subject him to that cruel fate.

7) Make a habit to talk about money.
Whoever says money isn’t everything obviously has no money problems but for most people money is a sensitive issue.  Being able to talk about money shows trust, partnership and teamwork.  Marriage needs all that and so much more.

Green Rose

I’m only seven episodes short of being officially up-to-date with the Filipino-version of Green Rose.  Based on a Korean telenovela of the same name.  I haven’t had the pleasure of watching the Kdrama version just yet. 

I am loving Jericho Rosales’ clean and sauve beardlet.  It’s quite sexy. 

Not to mention, Jake Cuenca’s stone-cold, heartless and conniving character, Edward is super hot.  I think the distinguished, modern and well-tailored business attire suits him.  He looks taller, sleeker and mature than in previous roles. 

Just a quick synopsis of the over all theme…
(As much as I’m loving watching the episodes, I can’t quite sit still long enough to write all about the twists and turns in the story just yet)

Jerome Delgado (Jericho Rosales) grew up poor but with great character and a loving mother.  Angela Tuazon (Anne Curtis) is the rich, spoiled daughter of the Chairman of SR Corporation.  One night after Jerome and his best friend, Jackson (Janus Del Prado) are hired to work for SR Corporation they go to a local bar to celebrate. Angela is drunk and annoyed by their loud, raucous but good-hearted laughter.  She turns around to scold them and this is where they lay eyes on each other. 

Long story short, they fall madly in love.  Unfortunately, her father disapproves of his daughter’s relationship with a poor, truck driver working for his company.  He wants her to be with someone who’s social standing is similar to their own: rich, rich and rich.  He wants her to be with someone like Edward Fuentebella (Jake Cuenca), the young, charming and cunning VP of SR Corporation.

Dailies

I’m particularly grateful that this week is finally ending.  We’ve had two weeks of steady rain.  Don’t get me wrong, I love that the rain cleans off the streets, the bird poop off my car and waters the lawn for FREE!  I love cuddling under the covers watching movies I’ve watched a million times already in comfy pajama bottoms and furry socks.

Unfortunately, I get to do all that during the weekends when I really long to venture out and experience this great city of ours.  It’s not that I’m afraid of rain but I hate getting wet and stuck at stop lights that don’t work.  And don’t forget all the stupid drivers that stomp on their brakes for no reason at all except that they act on impulse and think unnecessary braking is the best way to slow down.  NOOOOO.  Get your stupid foot off the gas pedal and relax your speed until you feel comfortable enough to continue on your merry way. 

I would really like to visit the De Young Museum for the Balenciaga exhibit this weekend.

Not to mention, the  Pulp Fashion exhibit at the Legion of Honor from February 5- June 5, 2011…

I will be going to the Asian Art Museum for the Trunk Show and Sale: Contemporary Fashion Accessories and Traditional Textiles from Kutch, India on Friday, March 25 even though I should know better and stay clear of any more wonderful and beautiful fabrics.  I’m practically swimming in my stash, it’s absolutely absurd.

Dailies

Zumba class kicked my ass tonight.  I love the combination of sweat, fatigue and the lightlessness I feel, both weight-wise and in my head.  I swear before the end of session I felt like falling all over myself in exhaustion.  I wore my Team Stefan shirt tonight with my Enell bra underneath.  I think I’m about due for a new sports bra.  I’ve thrown this one in the dryer so often its so tight my boobs don’t move an inch when I’m bouncing around.  I’m torn between that being a good or a bad thing.

I’ve slowly been catching up with my Green Rose episodes from February, can’t wait until I’ve caught up.

Operation Clean-up

I’ve become obsessed with ridding myself of unused, unloved material possessions.  I’ve come to learn the value and importance of simplicity.  Simplicity doesn’t need to be boring.  Simplicity doesn’t translate to deprivation.  It means to know what you need, to love and enjoy all your belongings and to know when to let go.  So, you have more time to spend with family and friends and not fret about all those mundane household tasks waiting for you back at home.

Being 100% in the moment is truly the best way to experience your life.

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