Watching Titanic the first time, I thought it was a beautiful, well made movie. That was it. No emotional impact whatsoever. Fast forward a few years, again I thought it was a well made movie the second time watching it. But this time I shed a few tears. Tears for their beautiful, deep love for each other and the tragic ending; tears from a little pity that love like that doesn’t exist in real life. Fast forward another couple of years, as the New Year’s bell rang for 2016, Jack Dawson’s toast for dinner miraculously kept ringing in my head:” To make each day count.”

To Make Each Day Count

I’ve heard that phrase many times but it never had an impact on me before. Perhaps in my younger years I just assumed, there would be countless days ahead of me forever. Perhaps I finally came to a realisation how much I’ve wasted my life. In light of having a life with no regret, here’s my intention for 2016 and onwards: To make each day count. But how? Life is full of good intentions. How to make this intention a reality? Here are my 5 steps to make each day count.

  1. Ask yourself this question everyday

What I meant by this is to ask yourself every morning before getting out of bed “What can I do today to make my day worthwhile.” Then mentally review your day every night before going to sleep, “What did I do today to make today count?” This can all be done while lying in bed.

2. Do one thing that is important to you

There maybe many things on your daily to do list. Pick out one thing that means the most to you and get that done first. If your main goal is to stay healthy and excise everyday is important to you, do your exercise first thing in the morning. You’ll feel more accomplished once you’ve ticked off the most important thing off your to do list.

3. Do what you love

Find joy in life. Have you ever been so busy making a living to a degree that you forgot life is meant to be fun too? I have.

Ask yourself what you enjoy doing, then do it. “Too busy” is not a valid excuse. We should never deprive ourselves from simple pleasures in life. If you are not doing what you love as your job, there are many other little things that can bring joy to your life. It could be as simple as a cold beer in a hot summer day, 2 minutes of day dreaming in your fantasy world or 5 minutes dance in your living room… while nobody is watching.

4. Keep learning

I used to hate studying and thought I’d stop studying after finishing my Master’s Degree. But now I know that one can never stop learning.

You can actually learn everywhere. Ponder on simple things. Observe your surroundings. Or if you prefer, have yourself enrolled on a course like an online MBA programs in California

The possibilities are endless if you can just keep learning day by day. I want to yell at my younger self: “Have an open mind and be relentlessly curious!” Fortunately it’s never too late to learn, just about anything. Yep, old dogs can learn new tricks.

It’s true.

5. Have no fear

I’m a natural worrier and lazy. I loath everything that is slightly difficult to me. If something scares me, I’d run away from it immediately and have a snack, or a nap.

They say “Do one thing that scares you everyday.” You don’t have to. Just remember, when something scares you comes to your way, do not run away. Face your fear head on. You’ll miss so many opportunities if you run away, or quit.

Go on, you are much braver than you think you are.

Now back to you.

What is your intention for the new year?

No regret (1 of 1)

Do you ever regret? “Should coulda woulda” used to be my close friend. You see, I tend to spend a considerable amount of time worrying about the future or regretting over the past. The rest of time, I’d be daydreaming.

Luckily I’ve recognised my problem and decided to do something about it. The solution is simple: say good bye to “Shoulda coulda woulda.” No more regret. Nowadays once a decision is made, I’d just go ahead and do it. No regret afterwards. It doesn’t help any way, so why waste our precious time regretting?

If the matter is really important, I’d ask myself this question before the final decision is made: Will you regret it in the future if you make this decision now? If the answer is no – go ahead and do it. If the answer is yes or maybe – think again and come up with something until the answer is no. It works wonders for me.

So that’s a wrap! My last motivational post of this year is about having no regret.


At the beginning of this year, I made up my mind to stay motivated for the entire course of the year because it’s seriously in need. Below is a list of personal posts over the year from the blog series: self-motivation. Still can’t believe a whole year just flew by like that!


100 days of motivation.

Get up and do it.

Daily practice of listening and speaking.


Keep going.

5 Reasons Why It’s Better to Be An Optimist.

Don’t ever get comfortable when you have the ability to achieve more.

Your character is your destiny.


Have Patience.

Travel Often.

Make good habits.

How to set goals and achieve them over a period of time.



Stick to my morning routine.

Maintain a good body posture.

Order! I must have order.


Dare to say NO and ask for help.

Be less emotional.

Read out loud everyday.

How to be a good listener.

Be grateful.


Read more.

Plan weekly meals.

Love life.

Be observant.

One step at a time.


Adoptable to change.


Speak slowly.

Stay on track.



Eat slowly.

Hope is a good thing.

Don’t worry.

Don’t play small.


I can do happy.

Love what you do, for a long time.

Ignore I don’t feel like it!

9 Reasons why I want to learn how to cook.


Do small things in a great way.

Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted.

time you enjoy wasted is not wasted.

Recently I keep having this terrible feeling that I’m falling out of love. Falling out of love with Sydney, the city I’ve lived in for ages.

What I loved about the city has lost its former glory, one by one.

The beaches. They are still nice but it’s close to impossible to find a parking spot around the beaches within driving distance. If you do find one after driving in circles, it’s going to be $10 -20/per hour to park.

The blue sky. Compared to the sky in Beijing, Sydney’s sky is still blue. But it’s getting dustier and dustier and often decorated with huge crain everywhere. Well, one can say it’s a sign of development.

Clean. No more. Sydney used to be much more peaceful and cleaner mainly due to the smaller population. Now I wonder if enough cleaners are hired to clean up the ever growing litter.

Though getting crowded and dirtier, the city as a whole, remains quite backward compared to other modern cities in the world. It can be… boring.

Yes, sorry, I’m supposed to be positive and always passionate about life. But I can’t shake off the feeling of being uninspired.

So I started to find inspiration in the city and some serious time – wasting activities, like hair throwing in the ocean;

time you enjoy wasted is not wasted.

like spending 3 hours walking around and taking photos of radom flowers.

time you enjoy wasted is not wasted

I felt a bit guilty of spending so much time doing something seems useless. But hey, I was kind of enjoy the time doing nothing “productive” and feeling slightly inspired again.

Someone once said “The time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted.” Whoever said that, thank you. You give me a perfect excuse to indulging nothingness.

do small things in a great way

I’ve been sitting here for at least 30 minutes but couldn’t come up with a sentence after the title “Do small things in a great way.” Normally, if I want to write something, it just flows. I’m not saying what I write is readable or good but it’s been easy. Because I mainly wrote for therapeutic purpose. I didn’t worry too much about the errors I made or if other people will understand my point of view. But from time to time I’d get emails from people through my blog. And then I’m like, “Omg, there are actually people reading my ramblings. I’d better put more effort into it.”

Note to self: If you want to do something, you might as well try a little harder and do a good job. No matter how small that thing is. Of course it doesn’t mean being pedantic. I know you are allergic to being pedantic. What I meant was good quality. Good quality is attractive. Time is precious. Make good use of your time; make something that is worth your time & be proud of it.

do small things in a great way

Photo taken on this past long weekend. Small flowers but so perfectly beautiful.

why I want to learn how to cook

I’m a late bloomer. Almost in everything.

Still not blooming yet. But still hopeful. You see, never give up hoping.

From this year, I started those weekly self motivational posts every week. And miraculously, I’ve kept going at it. Every week.

For those of you who don’t know me well, I normally start something and forget about it in 3 weeks’ time.

Reason why I’m still hot on this series? It’s because I’m full of flaws and I’m motivated to motivate myself to be better. Make sense?

In light of self motivation, from this week I’d like to learn how to cook. I mean … proper cooking, like following recipes and stuff. Do you cook often and measure the proportion of your ingredients? I cook from time to time but always free style. And eating out all the time is properly not that good. I need to know what I’m eating!

Here are at least 9 reasons why I want to learn bow to cook properly:

  1. I love eating and food, obviously.
  2. Practice my thinking brain.
  3. Be creative.
  4. Stay organized and disciplined.
  5. Be a better wife/house keeper.
  6. Make healthy eating a habit.
  7. Be patient.
  8. Master the lighting of still life photography.
  9. Keep the recipes on this blog as references.

Attached is a total irrelevant photo that I took at Sydney Cruise Bar. Actually, you can’t say it’s that irrelevant… because I snapped it while eating there. They served really, really nice food.

9 reason why I want to learn bow to cook

Be consistent

Consistency has been my biggest struggle this year. Prior to this year, I didn’t even understand the importance of being consistent.

Successful people tell us, “The reward for being consistent is huge!”

Is it too bad to admit that I haven’t benefited from being consistent because I have never ever been really consistent?

If you push me to think harder, maybe I have been unconsciously consistent before. Even benefited from it. I went to school consistently and worked extremely hard in the office consistently. As a reward, I progressed nicely at work. Ok. Here’s some hope.

Now I’m on my own. This is my dream job. But without self discipline and consistency, there’s no way in the world anyone is going to succeed. Daydream everyday and go with the flow are not going to cut it. So why I’m so bad at being consistent?

Because I’m too emotional and I let my emotion run me all the time. I “feel” too much. If I feel like doing something, I do it; if I don’t feel like something, I don’t. The problem is, most of the time “I don’t feel like it.” The result? Nothing much has been done.

The solution? Ignore the powerful voice in my head: “I don’t feel like it!!!” If I don’t feel like something because I’m lazy, scared, grumpy (… insert 100 other excuses), ignore my feeling and do it any way.

Just DO it.

Other weekly motivation posts.

Do you ever struggle with being consistent? Do you have any tips to share? I’d love to hear from you.


We hear the word “Passion” all the time. People tell us we must love what we do in order to succeed.

That’s the easy part – to love what you do. The real test lies in how long you’ll love what you do?

With time, is “what you do” going to become a “job” or even worse, a chore? It happens to me a lot.

My biggest weakness is not being persistent. I struggle to find my long lasting passion.

But I can’t afford not to love what I do. If I love doing something, the result is often amazing.

Mediocrity is never good enough.

So, what to do in case that you are falling out of love with what you do?

The solution:

  • Evaluate the situation: Is this as bad as you thought?
  • Always focus on the positive aspects.
  • Remind yourself the reasons you fell in love at the first what you do

Very often, it is me forgetting the good and focusing on the not so good too much.

Other weekly motivation posts.

Love what you do for a long time. Is it ever easy for you?

Don't play small

Do you feel that you can actually achieve more but you have been “busy” playing small?

It’s so easy to be trapped into a pattern of finishing up the mundane tasks everyday and forget about seeing the bigger picture.

Nelson Mandela’s quote really gave me a wake up call:  “There is no passion to be found paying small, – in setting for a life is less than the one you are capable of living.”

Don't play small

The key is to stay focused and continually reflect through out the year. Ask yourself: Who do you want to be? What do you want to create in your life?

There are only 4 months left for 2015. Did you set your goals for 2015 at the beginning of this year? Do you regularly review your goal and reflect to see how far have you gone so far this year?

With that in mind, here are some questions to help us reflect:

  • What would you like to be your biggest achievement of this year?
  • What are the greatest lessons you have learned so far this year?
  • what was the biggest risk you took so far this year?
  • what is the major effort you have put to improve your financial results so far this year?
  • How have you seen yourself grow so far this year?
  • What are you most happy about yourself so far this year?
  • What is the biggest business you’d like to finish by the end of this year & what is your progress so far?

Don’t settle on playing small. Go on, you deserve better!

“Don't worry about a thing

My Chinese name is 欣 (pronounced sin) which means happy and prosperous. Yep, my parents had all the good intention for me.

But man, I was miserable and a consistent worrier. I worried about every little thing and complained so much.

When J found out about my Chinese name, he said quietly: “Hmmm. You have the wrong name.”

God love him. He is so honest.

Remember the saying? — The truth always hurts but it will set you free. 🙂

Nowadays, I always try to calm down and worry less though it takes a lot effort on my part.
This blog is a good place for me to sit down, collect my thoughts and get it all out.

Worry less, because happiness is really a choice.

I have a bad habit… Recently it got even worse.

I swallow food without chewing properly and I’m often busying doing other things (working on the computer, reading etc) while eating too.

Remember I’m striving to be healthier from this year onwards?

Eat slowly & chew longer for better health.

london thames-001



It has been getting busier, just as I had hoped.
But I forgot to enjoy the beautiful world around me and breathe.

It was a gorgeous and sunny day. I looked up and decided to drop everything and go out for a walk along the Pyrmont Pier.

How I loved everything!
Glorious afternoon sun.
And deep breath.

Always remember to breathe.

Pyrmont, Sydney

Pyrmont, Sydney

Can I say it out loud?
I’m so envious of people who have loads of energy and ability to look after so many areas in life at the same time. There are some successful entrepreneurs operating a few successful businesses all at once and some mums managed to have a high flying career and an organised family life.

I, on the other hand, keep struggling and falling off the track easily.

While I thought I’ve made good progress about forming good habits and stay disciplined so far this year, things started falling apart once one side of my life gets busier.

Then I stopped exercising, abandoning my blog, forgetting about my morning routine and started to consume junk food like there’s no tomorrow.

I’m ready to throw in the tower and let my old, bad habits control over me again.

“Catastrophic thinking”.
This is me. Panicking. Questioning about my ability to be ever disciplined enough because I’ve broken the good routine that I tried so hard to set.

It is ok. Don’t always imagine the worst. You can still get back on trace and beat the bad habits.

Yes you can. Don’t ever give up.

stay on track-001

The above photo was taken at a Sydney suburb – Leichhardt. That plane was so close to the ground, don’t you think?


Once upon a time, I thought speaking fast is a sign of being smart. By the way, I have the habit of speaking fast not because I’m trying to be smart but because I have no patience.

My perception changed until one day, a friend of mine said to me, “Yvonne, I know you and how you speak so I generally understand what you are saying. But if you are speaking so fast, I can’t really follow you because of your accent.”

I’ve been living in Sydney for 18 years now but I’m still feeling embarrassed about my English. By now I realized it doesn’t help being embarrassed but not putting extra effort to improve continuously!

My friend is so right. He is a native English speaker and an excellent public speaker. He speaks clearly, slowly and it is a joy to listen to him. What is the rush?

Then I started to pay attention to newsreaders and politicians on TV. Nobody tries to speak super fast!

So from now onwards, I’m going to speak clearly first. Pronounce every syllables of the English words. My English would have been so much better if I started to pay attention 18 years ago.

But, it’s never too late to be better, right?
Speak clearly and slowly. Make it easier for others:)

speak slowly-001

P.S. totally unrelated topic: sometimes shooting nothing turns out something. I took a snap of these leaves, thinking it’s something totally useless. But I kind of like the colors. What do you think?

Have you ever noticed this in supermarkets ? A few checkouts are open to serve customers. Some checkouts are so busy with lots of people queuing. But there’s one checkout open & empty; the checkout operator stands there alone, looking bored. Whenever people finish shopping, they just join the long queues automatically even though they can be served straight away if they go to THAT checkout which has no customer.

We people like following others – because it is easier.

We follow instructions without needing to think why it should be done this way.

We watch television and believe what we’ve been told.

We don’t want to try something new or give up easily because “It’s too hard.”

The older we get, the less curious we become.

Living can be tiring but I shall keep telling myself: please be alert & think actively.


Another photo taken at Leichhardt. There’s something amazing about sunset.

half year review-001

Sunset at La Parouse

So the first half year of 2015 seems to be long gone:). Looking back, I did spend more time to know myself better and started the journey of conscious self – improvement since the beginning of this year. It’s going to be a life long journey but in summery, for the first 6 months I’ve managed to:

Have a healthier diet

My super power blender gets a regular workout nowadays. I bought it at the beginning of last year, when my wishful thinking was to have smoothie every morning. Of course it only happened once. That blender then retired to the cabinet for the rest of the year. Now I have smoothie for breakfast 2 -3 times on average and I started to plan our meals ahead. As a result (I think?), my skin tone is less dull and dry. My mornings are pretty productive.

Exercise more

In the past, apart from my very occasional yoga class, I hardly exercise (or move). Now I’ve incorporated pushups, plank pose and skipping rope into my weekly routine. I’m excising at least 2 -3 times a week, for 30 minutes each session. I know it’s still not enough but at least there’s consistency. A lot people do 5 times a week, 1 hour at least for each session. Wonder what I’ll look and how I’ll feel with that much excise? So that’s what I’m aiming for eventually.

Be more disciplined

I used to be an ideas (wo)man. Still is, but I cut back the time of daydreaming about ideas and take more actions now. The conscious self improvement routine is going to be a life long journey. Sometimes I keep thinking I’m the laziest person in the world: I need so much sleep: I’m so afraid of pain and I can’t resist the temptation of food.

But there’s always hope and it’s never to late to change for better. I’m comfortable and confident to say that some of the good habit will stay with me from now. There will be so much more to come!

Cheers to the second half year of 2015:)