I’ve been working on keeping my home clean and tidy but when my mind is focused on work or other major issues in life, old messy habits would come back to haunt me. So, I must continue learning how to make keeping a clean home as my second nature.

clean home

Photo: Archer Interiors

Recently, I came across this article: Ten habits of people who always have a clean home. Here are some very useful tips/reminder to stay ahead:

  1. They make their bed every morning
  2. They always put clothes away
  3. They clean as they cook
  4. They empty the dishwasher in the morning
  5. They wipe down surfaces after every use
  6. They do a load of laundry regularly
  7. They put things away where they belong
  8. They don’t procrastinate
  9. They dust and vacuum regularly
  10. They straighten up before bed
Life Skills

We all want our kids to be happy. And we want them to grow up to be happy, healthy and independent adults. There are lots of things we can teach our children over the years. But there are certain life skills that will stand them in good stead, no matter what life throws at them.

7 Essential Life Skills to Pass onto Your Kids

  1. Always Look After Your Health

First and foremost, always look after your health. Take them to visit a paediatric dentist regularly, so they get used to the experience. Make regular appointments to see the doctor and ophthalmologist. Let them learn how important good health is.

  1. Eat Well

Involve your kids in cooking and food decisions. Teach them how to make healthy choices and avoid foods that lead to poor health. Encourage them to help with grocery shopping, food preparation, and baking. If possible, grow food in your garden so they can see the process of planting to plate. If you have a small outdoor area, consider growing herbs or tomato plants indoors.

  1. Communicate

Communication is a vital life skill and will impact on all areas of their lives. It is likely to affect the jobs they get and the relationships they build. Expose them to lots of people from an early age. Encourage them to make friends and help them to navigate these relationships. As well as children, ensure they are comfortable speaking to adults.

  1. Good Manners

Good manners are part of your child’s communication skills. Teach them how to respond to different people and to say please and thank you. Foster a respectful and polite environment where kindness is key.

  1. Problem Solving

To be independent, children need to work out how to solve problems for themselves. A good way to encourage this is when they come to you with a question. For example, if your son or daughter tells you they can find something, don’t just locate it for them. Ask them where it should be and whether they have checked there. Then ask them where else it could be and suggest that they check. This will encourage them to find solutions themselves.

  1. Budgeting

As your children get older, they will need to learn the value of money. Don’t just hand money over if they ask for it. Provide an allowance in return for them completing chores. If there’s something they want, show them how to save up for it. They will appreciate the item far more if they have worked for it.

In later years, teach them how to set up a household budget. Show them how to enter the money coming in and the bills.

Life Skills

  1. Empathy

Empathy is an important life skill, but it is often overlooked. The best way to teach this is to demonstrate it. When a situation arises, ask your children to consider it from the other person’s point of view. Ask them how they think that person feels.

  1. Exercise

Show your child the importance of physical activities. Make activities fun so they want to get involved. Let them see you exercising and explain why you’re doing it.
With all life skills, the best way to teach them is by demonstrating them. There’s no point in telling a child to behave one way and then do something different yourself. For the message to be effective, you need to model those skills.

Top Tips For Improving Your Memory

Everyone wants to have great memory, but not many people know how to achieve it. A lot of people fall under the illusion of believing that memory is a given. People think that you are either born with a good capacity to remember, or you are not. But nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, anyone can have great memory. Even if you feel that you have never had good memory, that doesn’t have to be the case. There are some basic steps you – and anyone – can take to improve your memory. The beauty of the mind is that the more you practice something, the easier it gets. This is true of memory, just as it is with everything else. If you are keen to learn how to improve your memory fast and without drastic changes to your life, then read on. Here are some top tips from proven studies.

Top Tips for Improving Memory

First: Understand It & Know It’s Possible

Memory relies upon various functions within the brain. It’s true that these all need to be working properly in order to enjoy good working memory. However, if these aren’t working, you would probably know it! Memory works in an interesting way. It relies, in part, on a neurotransmitter known as acetylcholine. Choline is converted into acetylcholine, and this helps with cognitive ability, including memory. This is the basic framework, regardless of age or any other factor. So anybody with a functioning brain can learn to improve their memory – and that includes you.

Brain Workouts

The main key to improving your memory is to give your brain a good amount of practise. This doesn’t have to be particularly strenuous. Just a little each day will more than suffice. However, you must ensure that your brain workout has some basic elements if it is to be productive. First, it needs to be challenging – otherwise, your brain won’t workout! It is great to improve your communication skills by trying to connect with different kinds of people or take courses such as a masters in tesol, if you love teaching. Teaching is one of the best ways to keep your brain functioning

It also needs to include something novel, so that your brain learns something new. What’s more, ensure that it is rewarding. This way, you are more likely to do it again in future. Exercises of this nature can boost your memory in the long run.

Physical Exercise

Tips for improving memory

To keep your brain in peak condition, you also need to look after your body. Your memory will not function at its peak unless your body is operating well. So, make some time to get in some decent physical exercise, as well as the brain workouts. A couple of high-intensity sessions a week is more than sufficient. As long as you are looking after your body, your brain will benefit from it. Also ensure that you get a good amount of sleep. That way, your brain is sure to be firing on all cylinders.
With these simple steps, your memory can improve in no time at all. You will find, too, that the more you practise it, the easier it becomes. Start with simple exercises, and gradually build up. If you also keep a memory diary, you will be able to chart your progress. This will encourage you to continue.

It’s common knowledge that we women are more prone to depression than men. The reasons for this are unclear, but more women are diagnosed than men each year.

Right now scientists are investigating what factors lead to depression. They hope that if they understand the causal links, they’ll be able to fight the diseases. They also hope that it will explain why women seem to be at greater risk than men of developed the disease. Here’s what we know so far.

Hormonal Factors

Whenever women have a particular health problem, it seems as if the hormonal factor is trotted out. But now scientists are wondering whether women’s hormones put them at much greater risk. Imaging of the brain shows that people with depression have a different brain structure than those that don’t. Many scientists believe that chemical neurotransmitters affect the structure of the brain. And so it’s not much of a leap of faith to then suggest that hormones do too.

Female hormones can actually affect the brain chemistry that controls mood. And this might be why women experience greater levels of depression during times when their hormones are changing. We see more depression and anxiety during puberty and pregnancy, for example.

There isn’t all that much that can be done about the hormones themselves. But the trick here seems to be to avoid situations during pregnancy and puberty that could exacerbate mental health problems. Of course, that’s easier said than done.


stress at work

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that stress is a precondition for a bout of depression. Stress changes the way your body responds to stimuli. And prolonged stress can cause its structure to change in ways that hurt, not help.

For women, primary sources of stress involve work and caring for children. A stressful episode at work can quite easily trigger depressive symptoms. So too might the stress of caring for children while in poverty.

One possible solution is to join an online mental health community. Psychiatry articles and personal support can help give perspective. This, in turn, can reduce the propensity to feel depressed or stressed.

Other Disorders

Many women who experience depressive episodes often have other longstanding mental health issues. Depression often coexists with other mental health problems like eating disorders. And eating disorders tend to be a lot more common in women than in men.

Eating disorders aren’t the only potential disorder that can aggravate depression. Obsessive-compulsive disorder is one. Post-traumatic stress disorder is another. Even social phobia can increase chances of depression. Getting a handle on these problems is an important step towards preventing depression. It’s so important to deal with issues before they become entrenched. Hospital clinics and community mental health carers are important sources of help.

But it’s not just psychological problems that can increase the risks of depression. Physical problems can also increase the chances of becoming depressed. And medical problems often take longer to resolve if a person is depressed compared to if they aren’t.

The solution is to deal with both issues simultaneously. Dealing with one will improve the likelihood of recovering from the other.


how to throw a house partyFor most of my overseas readers, summer is nearly here, and that means that people are going to be having evening parties. Nights of entertainment arranged by you for your family, your friends, and neighbors. These types of occasions can be great fun as long as you know how to plan them right. If you don’t you could find that your house ends up a mess and you spend way too much money. Meanwhile, all you have to show for the party is a thumping headache and a few dozen empty bottles of wine. But don’t worry. I can show you how to throw an awesome party, avoiding all the issues.

Buying Alcohol

Unless you are actually hiring entertainment, this is going to be the most expensive party of the party planning. Buying the alcohol. You need quite a lot of it because you want to avoid the embarrassment of running out halfway through the night. But, as much as we love throwing these types of parties I’m sure you’ll agree you don’t want to spend a fortune. There’s good news on that front. If you look into buying liquor online, you’ll find you can purchase in bulk at discount prices. You won’t have to worry about plowing through your budget in one, swift purchase. In fact, you’ll have plenty of money to spend on other things.

Getting The Food

If you’re not the best cook in the world you’ve got two options. EIther, you can hire staff to cook it for you, order in or serve something that doesn’t require cooking. Lay out a buffet and that way your guests can choose and select what they want to eat. Anything that does need cooking you can throw in the microwave a for a few minutes. It won’t take a lot of time, and there’ll be plenty for everyone. The best part? Rather than an expensive order or paying for staff, this will be fairly cheap.

Watching The Weather Forecast

The trick to throwing a good house party for the host is to wait until the weather is bright. You might want to make sure your home is ready for guests incase it starts to rain. But you mainly want them to stay outdoors. That way you only have to worry about a garden clean up rather than your entire home. Trust me when I say this is far better. You might not even need to complete the cleanup yourself. You can hire a crew to get the job done for you. Meanwhile, your house remains in pristine condition.


Do yourself a favour and get an extension lead. Set some of your home speaker systems outside and let the music play. Just make sure that you do alert your neighbors what’s going on. The last thing you want is for your party to be shut down for disturbing the peace. This happens to adults just as often as it does to teenagers. The best way to deal with this is to invite everyone. If they’ve been invited, they can’t really complain.

That’s all there is to it. Follow this guide and you’ll have an awesome party in the in the summer, keeping your home intact.

“Don’t laugh so loudly.”
“Don’t talk too much in public.”
“That’s disgraceful to say something like that out loud.”

I could still feel my mum squeezing my hand, giving me warning signals of my inappropriate behavior in public. Being born shy and raised in a conservative family, I used to be the quietest person in the crowd. It became a habit to lower my head whenever there was an opportunity to speak up in front of a group of people.

Got to admit that I don’t possess any natural talent in speaking either. My dad is an engineer. Whilst he knows his machinery well, he’s definitely not a sleek talker. It’s known that when my dad says “window”, he’s actually referring the door. I have a growing fear that I’m becoming more like that if nothing is done to prevent it.

The truth is, it sucks to be shy.
If you don’t have good public speaking skills, you have no hope in career progression.
While it’s always easy to blame the parents (like I did, sorry mum and dad!), we live our own lives, eventually.
So the decision is yours. If you want to become better at something, there are always means to do that. Just start doing.

For years and years, I wanted to be more articulate and a better listener. Never took any action.
Feeling that I started to loose my speaking ability, from the beginning of this year, I finally started to go to our local Toastmasters club. Was chosen to be the Vice President of Membership of our club from July which really helps me to stick to it… Well at least for a year;).

It’s not easy to go to the regular meetings once every two weeks. Most of the times, I don’t feel like it. But hey, you just have to keep pushing it if you want something.


No way on earth I could or wanted to be a toastmaster (MC) for a larger audience before. But I was offered an opportunity to be the table topics Toastmaster in our division contest and took it up.
It feels amazing to do something you’ve never done before and see yourself that you can actually do it.

21 Public Speaking Tips for Beginners

By no means I’m an expert or good at it, but I’d like to share 21 public speaking tips for people like me who are just starting out to learn.

1. Love your topic.
I guessed if you are reading this post, you might not love public speaking, yet.
So pick a topic you love to start with. Oh it helps. If you love your topic, you’ll love spending time prepare your speech. The more you prepare, the better.

2. Know your audience.
Find out who you are going to present to and where you are going to give the speech. Sun Tzi said in the Art of War: 知己知彼 百战百胜。 -“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.” While your audience and the podium are not your enemies,  it’s good to know your surroundings and who you are dealing with. Preparation is the key.
3. Focus on the positive.
If something goes wrong, focus on the positive side of things. Always.

4. Slow down.
Many people are like me, trying to talk faster. Trust me, talking fast in front of public doesn’t give your audience the impression that you are smart, it gives people the impression that you are nervous. SLOW DOWN. Speak word by word. Pronounce every syllabus.

5. Breathe.
This is an add on to point 4. Slow down and breathe normally. You’ll feel calm and relaxed. I think it is the most important point if you can’t remember anything else.

6. Remember people don’t want you to fail.
Your audience is your friend. We are not referring to political debate here.
Nobody wants you to faint on the stage. If you are extremely nervous and stressed, your audience will feel stressed too. If you are relaxed and enjoying yourself on the stage, your audience will feel relaxed and happy too. There’s no need to be scared of your audiences.

7. Smile.
While it can often be recognized as a sign of weakness in certain social situations, smiling is good for public speaking. Research shows that a  speaker that smiles is perceived to be smarter.

8. Engage eye contact.
There will always be someone friendly in the audience. They will look at you and nod and even smile at you. Look out for those people first. Don’t look at those serious faces and think these people hate you. They don’t hate you.

9. Use hand gestures.
Jazz hands rocks. Yes, true story.

10. Pause.
Of course pause for too long people might think you’ve lost your clue. But pause occasionally will help you to breath normally and amazingly, you’ll look confident too.

11. Bring the energy.
If you love your topic, you’ll bring the positive energy with you. And your audience will love it.

12. Give audience something to take home.
Think for your audience. What’s it in for your audience?

13. Don’t cross legs or clench your fist.
Open up your body and breathe.

14. Use humor.
Lighten up. It’s not all that miserable. It sucks to be boring too.

15. Don’t make excuse or say “sorry”.
If you make a mistake, move on. If you forget about what you want to say next, use note and move on. There’s no need to say that happened because you didn’t have time to prepare well or something else. Generally, the audience don’t care about your excuses. Move on and carry on.

16. Ask questions.
It helps to get the audience involved. It takes the pressure off you for a change. A good way to do it is to ask questions. Not just any questions. Ask easy and fun questions!

17. Wear something makes you feel good.
You don’t want to wear something so tight that makes you uncomfortable or self conscious. It’s not just a girly tip.

18. Be yourself.
No need to pretend to be someone or something that you are not. It’s easier to be yourself. Your audience will accept who you are.

19. No pain, no gain.
If the idea of giving the speech makes you extremely uncomfortable and you want to pull out, just do it any way. Remember? If you want to get better any public speaking, there’s no better way than doing it and doing it often. No pain, No gain. You’ll learn something every time you get up there and do it.

20. It’s not about you.
Is it or is it not about you? I’m envious people who just love the limelight and can talk non-stop publicly. It’s important people who don’t enjoy public speaking to remember, you’ll be much better off if you focus on deliver your message to the audience, instead of worrying about how nervous you are all the time.

21. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.
Enough said.


how to Revitalize Your Skin With Quick Results

There are many reasons why skin can look dull and dry. It can be due to stress, bad diet or even dehydration. It can be hard to know what to do to get your skin looking it’s best again. This guide will show you exactly what you need to do to achieve beautiful, revitalized skin, with long lasting results.

How to Revitalize Your Skin With Quick Results:

  1.    Let’s get food smart

Think about it. Are you currently eating a well-balanced diet? It’s easy to forget that what we eat doesn’t just affect our waistlines, but our skin as well. Try swapping sugary treats for pistachio nuts. They are full of Vitamin E and can help protect the skin from UV rays. The skin needs some fat to help it maintain it’s elasticity, which makes it appear more youthful. By choosing lean meats like fish, you are still getting the protein your body needs and keeping your waistline in check. Eating fresh vegetables will aid your skin in producing antioxidants. These will neutralize signs of ageing. Making these changes to your diet will make your skin appear more radiant and you will also feel uplifted.

  1.    Rehydrating

Dry and cracked skin can make us all feel uncomfortable. Applying a little moisturizer throughout the day can help the skin maintain it’s natural hydration.  Another option is to try products that contain vitamins, which promote the production of collagen. It will allow your skin to retain more moisture and seem renewed.

Water is another obvious choice to tackle rehydration. It’s recommended we drink eight glasses a day to maintain a healthy well-being. So put down that coffee and grab a glass of water instead. Your complexion will thank you for it.

  1.    Beauty Sleep

It turns out that Beauty sleep is not a myth after all. A lack of sleep can cause your body to stress, which can cause your skin to have breakouts. These irritations can get worse if you do not allow your skin to heal during sleep. Having a decent amount of sleep each night will allow your skin to repair itself and produce more collagen. Your skin’s hydration levels also rebalance when you sleep.

Remember always to remove your makeup and apply some moisturiser to sensitive skin before you go to bed. This will help to reduce wrinkles and dark circles under your eyes. Try to use a makeup remover with cotton wool, instead of a makeup wipe. This will be kinder to the sensitive skin around your eyes.  Now let’s all wake up with refreshed, beautiful skin.

how to Revitalize Your Skin With Quick ResultsImage Source: Flickr

By following these simple steps, you will begin to notice a change, almost instantly. The key to success is consistency. You need to be committed, but quickly you will begin to notice how much brighter you look. All your extra effort will be so worth it. All it takes is a healthy and varied diet, a good night’s rest and plenty of hydration. It’s as simple as that.

8 Ways To Supercharge Your Life

Hardly any of my friends know that I have a blog – I’m rather secretive in a way.

Those who do know often joking say, when you get famous….

I typically don’t enjoy that kind of comment because I’m not one of those people who want to be famous.

The reason I want to keep this blog is because I want to have this space to record my thoughts, my journey, to make myself accountable.

Sometimes I wonder if anyone else suffers from downward mode swings as much as I do, so writing motivational stuff often is also good for my soul.

The point is, I don’t want to spend my life feeling down. Everyone has the right to reach their full potential. So here it is:

The 8 ways to supercharge your life and reach your full potential:

1. Don’t complain.

Who wants to spend time with negative people that always complain? Unfortunately I used to be one of those people. Luckily enough, I realized that complaining is not productive. It doesn’t help anything but putting yourself and other people down.

Lighten up, look at the brighter side. There is ALWAYS a brighter side.

2. No more excuses.

Have you heard “Nobody will be impressed with your excuses?” What’s the point of making them. It’s not cool.

If you really want something, try the hardest you can to get it. That’s the only way I know about how to get what you want.

3. Stay focused.

We all have equal amount of time in each day. Some people achieve so much while others sleep walk through their lives. The thing is, most people have very similar intellectual levels, it’s just that focused people are more successful in the long run.

8 Ways To Supercharge Your Life

Sydney Botany Bay

4. Keep reading.

Never stop learning through reading.

You can’t experience everything but you can learn from other people’s experiences. You can learn so much by reading various materials from different sources.

Knowledge is gained by daily accumulation.

Read up.

5. Ditch procrastination.

We humans are good at procrastinating. It’s often much easier to up with some ideas and wait than to take action.  I find the best way to fight procrastination is to write a to do list and cross them off once you finish the task. I have no patience to wait so it’s often easier for me to take action if I write down my list of things to do.

Be decisive and take action NOW.

6. Stop regretting.

There are no regret pills for you to take. If something has been done, MOVE ON. Don’t waste your precious time thinking about it over and over.

7. Never give up.

If you really want to achieve something, never give up trying. The end result might not be as splendid as you have hoped but it would still be a lot better if you’ve tried everything you can than not trying or giving up too early.

8. Conquer fears.

Everyone has fearful moments. The difference is how you deal with your fear. Never run away from fears.

You’ll make mistakes; other people will laugh at you.Deal with it. It’s all part of life.

In return, you’ll learn from your mistakes and be a much stronger person.

How To Get Rid Of Negative Emotions

How to get rid of negative emotions? Have you ever been bothered by your own negative thoughts? Do you find it’s hard to stay positive and productive all the time? We human beings all have emotions; some are more emotional than others. Unfortunately I often suffer from huge mood swings. Though most of my ex-colleges commented I’m “calm and collected”, deep down I know how moody I could be. A few years ago J murmured “maybe you have bipolar“. Maybe he’s right, I just don’t want to get it diagnosed by a doctor.

The good news is sometimes people do not only grow older, they grow better too. I’m on the path of growing better. Trust me, most of the times you are the best doctor of  yourself. I’ve just finished my 30 Day Trial: Be Less Emotional and found some effective ways to control negative emotions such as depression, anger and anxiety.

How To Get Rid Of Negative Emotions

Photo source: Internet

What worked for me:

How to get rid of negative emotions:

1. Acknowledge your feeling and deal with it.

When you experience the negative feelings, instead of trying to ignore them. Stop for a moment and acknowledge your feelings. If you are feeling not happy, ask yourself why?

If there’s no particular reason to feel unhappy, it is just your normal habit of feeling unhappy all the time, lighten up. Think of something that makes you happy. If you can’t think of anything, think hard, there will be something that makes you happy. Once you find that positive thought, stay with it for a while.

If you are feeling anxious about something, ask yourself why you are anxious. Is there anything that you can do to reduce the anxiety? Once you’ve found that something you can do, do it. Now.

If you are feeling angry, stop and reflect your anger. Are you angry about yourself? Did someone or something make you angry? Does being angry help with the situation? Very often, the answer is no. So tell yourself, being angry only does harm to the situation and your health.

2. Take a deep (or a few) breath(s).

When you suffer from negative thoughts, take a deep breath first, then a few more. Concentrate on your breaths. Try to count your breath. This will help you to take your mind off your negative thoughts. Deep breath helps with stress relief.

If you are in a situation facing an angry and unreasonable person who’s barking at you, I understand you’ll feel angry because of it.

3. Establish positive thoughts in the morning.

I believe being happy is a habit that can be developed. In this blog post Be Greatful, I started to train myself to have positive thoughts first thing in the morning. Make the start of your day pleasant.

4. Have a good night sleep.

A good night sleep very often sets you off in a good mood. Unfortunately, getting a good night sleep is not that easy for a lot of people.

Some times people have sleep disorders, some times people can’t sleep well because they have little babies to look after. I could sleep long hours but the quality of my sleep is not that great. All sorts of dreams, well mainly unpleasant ones fill in my sleeping hours. So I could still feel tired and irritated after a long night “sleep”. One way I find that can help with this problem is to soak feet in hot water before going to bed. Yes, like J said, like an old woman:). Haha…Whatever!

5. Stop once in a while and smile to yourself.

Learn to like yourself and appreciate yourself more!

6. Tick off more of the easier tasks on your to do list.

When are feeling negative, it’s hard to get yourself to do things and be productive. The truth is, the more unproductive you are, the more unhappy you become. How to break this vicious circle? Do more. How? Tackle the easy tasks first.

7. Listen to inspiring audio books.

Don’t completely shut down when you feel depressed. It’s ok when you don’t feel like facing the world and talk to other people. But you are strong enough to drag yourself out of depression. Have some motivation/inspiring audio books ready. They can be good anti depressant when you are feeling down.

8. Listen to loud, upbeat music.

Different people would have different choices. I like Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” and “Billie Jean”.

9. Stay in the sun.

Sun makes you happy. If when you feel sluggish and it’s sunny outside, go out. Stay in the sun and take a deep breath. Stretch your arms out and upwards… feeling better?

10. Move your body vigorously.

When you feel slightly depressed, move your body before it develops into deep depression that totally takes control over you.

Make a move, no matter how reluctant you feel. Try sprint, jump up and down or dance like crazy.

Life is too good to be wasted feeling unhappy all the time. Yes, it’s always easier to feel sorry for yourself and find excuses to let negative emotions control you. But you, my friend, you are the one who controls you and your life. Do waste the precious gift of life. You can do it. You can get better.

The trick is: try to be a little harder on yourself. Don’t give in when the negative emotions start to attack you. As long as you are willing to make efforts to change, slowly and surely, you will become better at control your emotions.



how to be a good listener

There’s a Chinese saying: 诉说是一种本能,倾听是一种教养。It basically means that, it is our instinct to talk but it takes an educated (cultured) person to listen.

We all know quite a lot active talkers and public speakers, but are there many good listeners around you?

I for one, is a big offender of not listening. I didn’t even bother ask questions! Because I used to be so soaked up in day dreaming, I didn’t really care to pay attention to anything else!

Why it is important to be a good listener? Because listening forms a vital part of communication. It was stressed almost everywhere nowadays that it is essential to have good “communication skills” in our modern society. But “communication skills” are quite often interpreted as “speaking skills”. That’s why there are so many courses out there teaching public speaking, sales & marketing etc.. But I’m yet to discover one course specialised in teaching “How to be a good listener.” Maybe most people think as long as one can hear, one can listen.

how to be a good listener

I once met a good public speaker and educator in sales and marketing. He has a perfect voice, great body posture and the confidence one needs to be a good public speaker. During a group conversation, he asked someone a personal question then immediately lowered his head to check his phone message. He then asked the same question later as if it was never asked or answered. Needless to say, the person who was asked felt a little annoyed the second time. By observing this little episode that night, I realized how easy it is to overlook the importance of being a good listener.

Someone famous (Dale Carnegie?) once said, you need to be interested to be interesting. He’s absolutely right.

So, how to be a good listener?

Here are 3 simple steps to start with:

1. Don’t be busy thinking about what you need to say next.

Very often, while other people are talking to us, we would be so busy thinking about what we should say next. It’s totally natural for wanting to come up with something relevant, even witty to say next. We might think it’s the best way of showing our conversational partner that we listened. But a lot of times, listening alone is all is needed. When we are so busy thinking about what to say in return, we stop listening attentively. Our conversational partners want to share and be understood.

2. Don’t interrupt.

“Interrupt” is one of the social attraction killers & I’m often guilty of that. Let your conversational partner finish with what he/she wants (needs) to say. Don’t interrupt them. Sometimes we are fulling listening and following but still can’t help but interrupt by the following

– Offering advice without being asked.

Like mentioned before, a lot of times, listening alone is enough. Don’t interrupt the person who’s speaking by jumping in offering advice unless she/he asks your advise specifically.

– Asking questions while the other person is still talking.

It’s all good to ask questions to show that you are listening and interested to find out more.

But try to hold onto your questions when the speaker stops talking.

Saying “me too” too quickly & stealing their thunder!

Don’t interrupt by saying “Me Too” eagerly and starting to sharing your story too soon:). Your conversational partner started first, let  her/him finish their story first.

3 Give your conversational partner your full attention by making eye contact.

Your body shows whether you are listening or not. If you really respect your conversational partner and want to listen to them with your full attention, lean towards them and make eye contact from time to time. That’ll also help you concentrate on what they are saying more.


I have a confession to make. I love eating and am kind of lazy. I don’t like exercise … much.

Thanks to my parents, I’ve never had overweight problems. But I did feel sluggish and guilty after a long period of being inactive.

Then I decided to change the situation and make moderate exercise part of my daily routine.

Because I’m the least disciplined person I know, it wasn’t an easy journey but I applied 3 steps to make it happen:

Daily dose of motivation.

Has it ever happened to you? You joined a gym with the good intention to go at least 4 or 5 times a week for the whole year. You did so for about 2 weeks. Then it becomes once a week. 2 monthly later, you stopped going altogether. I was one of those people.

Sustaining long lasting change often feels impossible because our will power is limited, when will power fails, we fall back to our old habits.

So I started to motivate myself everyday. I remind myself the pleasure of how to I felt after exercising; the pain of not exercising enough. And I’m strong enough to control my actions.

Make it easier by taking small steps everyday.

People say the minimum level of exercise is 30 minutes a day for at least 3 times a week. It doesn’t work for me.

3 days a week gave me too much flexibility…

Monday, too much work. Tuesday rained. Wednesday going out dinner with friends. Thursday shopping night. Friday, oh well the whole week has gone, let’s just start fresh from next week.

The solution for me is to do it every day right after I get up. Nothing over the top, just some pushups and yoga for 30 minutes.

At first, I got distracted by email messages and forgot about stretching completely. So I switched my mobile phone to flight mode every night and slept in my yoga top for a few days. I don’t need to do that any more but I never forget to stretch in the morning. Morning exercise has become one of my habits.

Enjoy it!

The more you do it, the better you’ll be come. The better you become the more you enjoy doing it.  Repeating an action for a long period of time, it becomes one of your habit.

So there you have it. My 3 steps of creating long lasting habits.

When you really want something, go for it . Make it happen.

Because you can.

5 good habits

5 good habits

Some people are naturally disciplined than others. Some people become more disciplined through continuously learning process. So if you are like me, the least naturally disciplined person, don’t be discouraged –  there’s hope for everyone:). I only started to know the importance of self discipline at a later stage in life but as they say, it’s never too late.  For those of you who are struggling to keep on track, I want to share the 5 daily habits I’ve recently developed and intend to keep for life. I also believe these are the 5 daily habits that can help you achieve more in life.

Get up early

There are early risers and there are night owls.

I used to resent getting up early in the morning to go to school and office. All these years I thought I would be the happiest if I could just wake up naturally every morning without using the alarm. I used to tell myself that I’m not a morning person so it’s ok to get up late in the morning. But started from this year I decided to challenge myself and be a disciplined person. I’m trying to get up before 7:30am every morning. You’d be surprised how much extra you can squeeze in one day if you just get up 2 hours earlier in the morning! I’m able to exercise everyday, have a healthy breakfast everyday and read everyday!


I’ve never had a regular exercise routine before this year. I do yoga, go the to gym, go dancing… only when I felt like it. If people asked me in the past: which days do you go to yoga during the week? I would have hated the question. Why do I have to fix certain days in the week to do yoga? I didn’t like fixed dates or rules. As a result, I didn’t excise when the weather wasn’t good enough, when I was tied, when I was moody, when I had other things to occupy more mind.

But this has all been changed. Nowadays, I start to stretch right after I got up and brushed my teeth. Pushups and plank pose are the ones I stick to everyday. I prepare my yoga clothes the night before so it’s easier to quickly put them on in the morning. 3 times a week at night, I go skipping rope. Again, I prepare my exercise clothes, drinking water and skipping rope earlier and put them next to the front door. I skip ropes in my garage no matter what the weather is like, I have no excuse not to go to the garage to jump rope.

Have a healthy breakfast 

I skipped breakfast for many many years. But now I have smoothie for breakfast almost everyday. It’s that simple.

I bought this powerful blender for smoothie at the beginning of last year, thinking I would start to have healthy breakfast from January last year. Instead, I used it for 3 times and left it there for the rest of the year. My mind decided last year that smoothie is not that filling enough for breakfast after 3 days. As a result, I reverted back to my old habit of having no breakfast at all.

The secret of make good habits is keep doing it regardless what you mind tells you what to do. After having smoothie for breakfast for a consecutive of 5 days, my body got completely used to it. My mind has stopped objecting the idea of having smoothie for breakfast too!

Read books 

One can never stop learning through reading books. People often say: who has the time to read now! Well, we can always make time. If one can check social media updates & emails every 5 minutes, surely we can find 3o minutes a day to read or listen to a book. My goal this year is to read at least one book a month. The way I’m doing it is that I divide the total pages of the book by the number of days in a month. For example, if a book has 300 pages in total and that month has 30 days, all I need to do is to read 10 pages a day. Keep doing this everyday in that month, I’ll slowly but surely finish the book in one month.

Read aloud 

In order to achieve more in life, one must be able to clearly express his/her thoughts to others. English is my second language. For years I have the desire to improve my English & communication skills but never put any real effort into it.

The theme of my goals this year is Communication. In the past years, I tried to read  aloud every now and then but never made it a daily habit. Hence I’ve never made any significant improvement. Now I’ve made a daily commitment to read out loud for at least 30 minutes a day, right after my daily stretches. It’s still early days and I don’t see any quick result yet but I know this daily habit is going to stay for life.

Who have thought setting goals and stick to them is this hard:). Maybe it’s easier for someone but it certainly hasn’t been easy for me. Luckily if there’s a will there’s a way. It all depends on how badly you want to achieve your goals. Remember:

Repeating an action makes a habit.

Your habits create your character.

Your character is your destiny.

May success be your destiny.

How to Set Goals And Achieve Them Over A period Of Time

As I repeated many times on this blog,  my main goal this year is to develop good habits and keep them. This goal needs to be reminded and reviewed every now and then to keep me on track as I can fall off the track so easily:).

Goal setting is a new concept I’ve adopted since 2012. It turned out, the whole process is not as easy as I first thought. There’s a deep learning curve for me from setting goals to learning how to achieve them in the end. Last few years’ pattern has been like this: I am always fully charged at the beginning of the year. My drive to keep up will generally last for a whole month till the end of January. Towards mid February, my passion for my goal list is gone. By the time it’s March, my goal list is totally forgotten. Everything would revert to my old, usual ways. By the end the year, I realise I haven’t done that much at all and whole year has slipped away, again. I still manageto achieve a little bit here and there but deep down I know that I have the potential to try much harder and I could have achieve a lot more. So you get the picture, I’m not happy with the progress I made in the last few years.

Well, this bad pattern must go and be replaced by something a lot better. I’ve made up my mind to take control and make the situation more satisfying. It’s late March 2015. I still have my goal lists and visit them once a week. And I have developed some beneficial habits and intend to keep them for life. So I’m slowly learning how to set goals and achieve them over a period of time.

Here are the 3 simple steps on how to set goals and achieve them over a period of time:

  • Identify the burning issues in your life and set your goals accordingly.

What’s the number 1 desire in your life at the moment? Is it weight loss? Looking for a new job? Attracting more clients for your business?

  • Develop a system on how to achieve your goals and set out a detailed action plan.

If weight loss is on the top of your agenda, develop a system on how to lose weight. There are many systems to make it work: go on extreme diet and eat little to nothing, exercise A LOT. Take skinny pills etc.. Say you want to develop a system to lose weight by eating less and excising more. You’ll then need a detailed action plan on what you eat, how often you eat, your daily & weekly excise routine etc.

  • Stay focused with consistent follow through.

Remind yourself of your goals periodically & review your process. Put your goals somewhere easily accessible so you don’t forget about them when you get busy. Review your progress and make amendments accordingly. Don’t be discouraged by setbacks easily. If your goal was to lose 5kgs in one month but you only managed to lose 0.5kg. Don’t give it all up because of that! Maybe this goal is too high for you. Usually slow and steady is the way to go!

Keep trying. Remember persistence is the key. Here’s my motivational quote of the week: “A river cuts through a rock not because of it’s power but it’s persistence. ”

How to Set Goals And Achieve Them Over A period Of Time