Mind & Spirit

3 ways to live better: Editing, dreaming, and adding quality to your life

3 ways to live better: Editing, dreaming, and adding quality to your life

Author: Canadian Living

Mind & Spirit

3 ways to live better: Editing, dreaming, and adding quality to your life

In the March 2008 issue of Canadian Living Magazine, Carrie and Danielle worked their Style Statement magic on three Canadian Living staffers. Here are some pointers the team offer up to help you lead a healthier, happier and more stylish life.

1. Learn how to edit, add and appreciate your life:
Letting go, making conscious choices and expressing gratitude are all proven, perennial wisdoms for enriching one's life. 

This week:
Write down three simple things that you will edit from, add to and appreciate more in your life. (We've actually created edit, add and appreciate columns on our own weekly to-do lists.) Sticky notes are also an excellent tool for this – for your fridge, your day-timer or your dashboard.

Write this down:

Edit: Let go of one thing every week – objects, thoughts or activities. Like an old sweater that never felt right. Or the thought that you're not as far along as you think you should be. Or a small habit, like staying up too late.

Add: Bring one thing into, or re-invent one thing in your life -- objects, thoughts, or activities. Like a new sweater that feels "just right." Or the thought that you are always where you're meant to be. Or a small habit like going to bed early one night a week and letting the chores and e-mails wait until the next day.

Appreciate: More fully appreciate someone or something. Send a thank-you note to a partner or friend for the simple and exquisite gift of companionship. Be extra polite to the guy who makes your latte. Get that old painting reframed, or finally take those pants to the tailor. Spend some time admiring your own eyes.

Edit, add, and appreciate one new thing a week. Start small and feel what happens.

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2. Learn how to analyze and follow your dreams
"Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart.
Who looks outside, dreams.  Who looks inside, awakens."
– Carl Jung

Plenty of modern-day motivators instruct us to dream big. Bigger than life. (What is bigger than life, anyway? Life is as big as it gets!) And then there are the old-fashioned pessimists who tell you to keep your head out of the clouds and your expectations low.

What to do:

This week, do a little dream analysis. Create two columns on a page: "My Dreams" and "Because Why." On one side, write down the dreams you have, or used to have. Go ahead and include the dreams you "think" you should have, or would be "cool" to have.

Then, for each dream, recall what inspired that dream (a movie, a tender inkling in your young psyche, the dying wish of your grandmother?) and ask yourself why you desire that dream to come true. What would that new reality feed in you? How would it make you feel, change your look, inspire you to act? What would it prove, and to whom? How would that dream come true affect others? And where might you go from your new reality?

Consider if some dream modification is in order. What needs to be colorized, amplified, refuelled, and sprinkled with extra-strength wishing dust? And what needs to be tossed, smashed or burned in the sacred fires of your evolving self?

Dreams from the heart are always real.

3. Commit to quality, in clothes and in life
"Cheap is expensive in the long run. Why buy twice when you can buy once? Commit to quality and it commits to you."
– Carrie and Danielle's Manifesto of Style

You choose: three pairs of polyester pants that you buy on sale. You feel like "they'll do." One loses its hem, one pair pills, and you only wear the third pair when you're behind on laundry because they're actually not that comfortable. Total cost: about $200 – which you may as well donate to the Salvation Army, because that's where those pants are headed anyway.

Or: one pair of pants made of summer wool (or linen, or organic denim, or brushed cotton – take your pick) that fit your bootie to perfection. It takes some time to find them (perfection usually takes time). And they may need to be hemmed (because perfection is possible). Cost: about $200. And every single time you wear them – which are many, because they will last for years – you feel great. You feel quality. You feel like you – and it shows.

It's better to have fewer quality things, than low-grade quantity. And yes, it is more stylish to wear the same pants a few days a week (and look great and feel great) than something new and cheap that compromises you.
This week resist the temptation to fill empty spaces. Be especially mindful of bargain highs. Make a list of what quality feels like, sounds like, and looks like to you.

Hold out for the best and treat it well when you find it. (And need we say it? This lesson applies to more than just pants.)

Read more:

6 ways to clean up your home life
5 ways to be more confident
10 simple ways to get more energy

Carrie & Danielle are the authors of Style Statement: Live By Your Own Design, and the creators of the daily e-magazine IDEAS and ICONS.com, launching in March 2008
It's easy to subscribe to Canadian Living Magazine. Just click here to find out how much it costs and what you'll get.


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Mind & Spirit

3 ways to live better: Editing, dreaming, and adding quality to your life