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10 Ways To Upgrade Your Life

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What was it Oprah said? “When you know better you do better.” Read on and be inspired to live well every day.

Try Scaring Yourself Silly

If you never feel uncomfortable in your life or career, you are limiting your opportunities to do greater things. People notice the choices you make, so taking a risk sets you apart, and it can inspire growth and change in others. Most of us have had someone in our lives who unknowingly inspired and motivated us to do more than we thought we could. Taking risks and believing in yourself allows you to be that person for others. Whether it’s learning another language, exploring a practical skill like baking, or training for a marathon, stepping out of your comfort zone will do wonders for your confidence. Looking for a little inspiration? Check out writer Marianne Power’s Help Me! blog, helpmeblog.net. Two years ago, she spent a month “feeling the fear” by following the advice of self-help books. She also resigned from her secure job in newspaper publishing and has just completed her first book.

Treat Your Next Holiday Like Your Mortgage

As in, actually putting money aside every month toward it. You’ll appreciate it so much more when you’ve returned home debt- and stress-free.

Sun shining off water and through palm tree at Return to Paradise Beach, Upolu, Samoa, Pacific

Have An Adventure

Whether it’s to celebrate a milestone (yours or your loved ones’), or tick an item on that bucket list, make 2016 the year you pursue your dream holiday. Irish company Greenbird organises tailored luxury lifestyle and travel, creating one-of-a-kind experiences, elegant events and elaborate itineraries for both private and corporate clients around the world. Our favourites? We’re setting our sites on experiencing the Paris and Milan fashion shows from the FROW (yes, really – they can make that happen) ; cruising the Galápagos Islands and visiting a research station in Antarctica ; snorkelling the Belize Barrier Reef ; swimming with blue whales in Sri Lanka ; going on a Sahara heli-desert trip ; seeing the Great Migration from a hot air ballon in the Serengeti ; and – I don’t know … schmoozing pitside and at the after parties with the teams following the Grand Prix in Monaco. We’re so there … greenbirdcompany.com.

Work Smarter Not Harder

Have ideas at the ready so you’re not stumped at a meeting, then speak up and share your thoughts. Being an introvert is perfectly okay, but don’t let shyness overcome you. Be confident being you and be ready to show your strengths. Volunteer to help out in other areas of the company or with projects that have not been assigned directly to you – salary increases and promotions are given to those who go above and beyond their job descriptions.

“As I became more experienced, I stopped looking for other people’s approval and became the absolute best me that I could be. I never stopped learning, but it’s a lot easier and less stressful to be my true self. Being authentic ensures that I’m more likely to succeed and that I am working to my strengths!”

Múirne Laffan, RTÉ’s Chief Digital Officer

Find Your Uniform

Take your cue from Jill Lincoln and Jordan Johnson, stylists to Jennifer Lawrence and Julianna Margulies, whose top tip for making your sartorial life simpler is to figure out exactly what styles and shapes you feel and look your best in. Then invest in different versions of the same pieces. If you need to be creative, do it with accessories.

Caucasian woman using digital tablet on stairs

Communicate With Care

Yes, we live in a 140-character world, where “LOL” is now universally accepted and understood. But all those quick-fire little messages themselves send messages – about you. Literacy speaks volumes, so can we humbly suggest: when faced with the choice of writing “because” or “becuz”, “for” or “4”, always opt for eloquence. Spell out words, end sentences with periods, and consider the apostrophe. Full stop.

Fall Back In Love With Food

We all love healthy eating, but creating something with the wow factor without resorting to sugar, salt or fat can be a challenge. If you’ve collected a few of the plethora of healthy cookbooks that have come out over recent years, followed the blogs of various vegan foodies, and spent a small fortune in your local health food shop, but have yet to feel confident at preparing a three-course feast sans baddies, invest in a cookery course that will show you the ropes first hand. Fiona Uyema presents her Japanese Food Made Easy course in Howth Castle February 25-26 (classes from €35 per person, howthcastlecookeryschool.ie), while Galway girls should check out Kate’s Place in Oranmore – this month sees Kate share her secrets to sugar-free baking and desserts on February 9 and 16, and vegetarian and healthy eating from around the world on February 23 and March 1, galwaycookeryclasses.com.

Two Women Talk at Cafe Table

Learn To Laugh In The Rain

Resilience – the capacity to weather tough times and challenges − means we don’t collapse, freak out or smash things when the pressure’s on. People who score highly on resilience feel comfortable reaching out. This interdependence of asking for help and giving it back when help is asked of you is one of the healthiest characteristics an individual can develop.

Build A Happier Bank Balance

Have you broken your New Year’s resolutions already? If so, you’re not alone, but one change everybody can make is to improve household finances. According to research by RaboDirect, 55 per cent of us resolve to save more money, and 47 per cent who made a financial resolution last year found their financial circumstances improved versus those who didn’t.

“It is so important to create your own income and expenditure statement. Only then can you truly plan. Track your spending if you are unsure where all those ATM withdrawals are going to – use an ordinary diary or download the Money Doctor app to identify your spending pattern,” says John Lowe, author of The Money Doctor 2016 by John Lowe (Gill Books, €12.99), moneydoctor.ie.

“As for paying off expensive personal loans and credit card debt, there is a simple but effective formula: If you can, consolidate all your debt into a single, less expensive loan and then pay it off as quickly as possible. If you can’t, hustle all your lenders until they give you a better rate or longer term, and always pay the most expensive debt off first – the sniper approach. Credit card interest rates vary from 9.11-20 per cent or higher, and there are also so many charges and fees. If your credit history allows, you could transfer to another card company at 0 per cent for six months. Finally, cut down your banking and insurance bills – avoid overdrafts (especially those exceeding the limits). Direct debits and standing orders are also costly – An Post offers a free bill paying service throughout their network (mybills.ie). You should also shop around for the best mortgage and loan deals, not to mention those insurance premiums – life, health, buildings and contents, travel, even your car.”

As parents, we try, naturally, to shield children from financial issues. However, talking to them is vital. Discuss family finances openly, in age-appropriate language. Paying kids pocket money is a great way of introducing them to budgeting (as long as you don’t top them up if they spend it all at once!).” Sinead Ryan, journalist and financial advisor @sinead_ryan

 

Me and My Home: Interior designer Suzie McAdam on image.ie

Transform Your Surroundings

2016 has begun with a strong emphasis on mindful living, a 360-degree, holistic approach to personal development that begins at home. In keeping with the theme of cultivating self-awareness, our colleagues in Image Interiors & Living suggest this year’s décor is going to be artful, considered and timeless. “Rather than stocking up on modish clutter, personalise your home with a few choice investment buys – high-quality, well-designed pieces that resonate with you on a deeper level,” says staff writer Kate Phelan. What better way to celebrate both the richness of our heritage and the potential of our future than by giving a home to an Irish-made future design classic in 2016, such as Dyflin x Designgoat’s modern-Scandi take on the lounge chair in luxurious Irish leather.

This article was originally published in the February issue of IMAGE Magazine.

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