How To Do Everything And Be Happy

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Trophy Board 2016

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Phew! Done it! I finally got around to clearing down my Trophy Board. Why finally? Because, for the first time in two decades, my A2 board wasn’t enough to hold all my ‘trophies’, and so back in October or November I added an A3 extension! To put it another way, whilst 2016 wasn’t the best year for a lot of folks, for me it was my busiest, ‘funnest’ (if that’s a word), year – EVER!

If you’re not really sure what a Trophy Board is, take a look at this earlier post (and extract from How To Do Everything And Be Happy) by clicking here.

Of course, a pin board isn’t the only way to capture memories. How about a Memory Box?memory-box

This one is available on Etsy here

 

Have another ‘trophy board’ idea? Share it in the comments. Or share your Trophy Board with other readers on the How To Do Everything And Be Happy facebook page – here.

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Fabulous Last Minute Christmas Gifts

christmas-2016
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I find gift shopping can be something of a challenge.

It’s not the ‘buying’ of the gift that I find challenging, or the wrapping, or any of that malarky, it’s coming up with an idea in the first place. Just what do you buy your cousin Edwina, the woman who seems to have absolutely everything?? It’s the stuff of nightmares. Many sleepless nights. Perhaps both.

If you’re anything like me the days roll past and before you know it, you’re roaming the aisles of your local shopping centre, desperately hoping inspiration will jump out, shake you by the shoulders, and end it all.

Well relax. This year inspiration has chosen to send you an email. Or a tweet. Or however the heck you stumbled across this blog post. Consider the following…

Books make excellent gifts

You see! And I know what you’re thinking – it’s so obvious now I’ve come to mention it! And here’s something else, books signed by the author are even more special. Ha! No more crappy I-didn’t-know-what-to-get-you-so-I-got-you-this-voucher from you! You’ve just become a master of ‘thoughtful’ gifts.

Now where on earth can you lay your hands on a signed book or two?

Right here is where!

With just a click of your mouse, or a tap of your finger, any one of the six books I’ve penned could be winging their way to you with a personalised greeting inside, or a simple ‘Best Wishes’ if you want to keep your options open. Simply select the book, or books, of your choice, by clicking the links BELOW.

The Truth About This Charming ManTTATCM kindle

My second novel… yes SECOND! Where have you been. If your Aunt (Dad, Sister, Wife, Husband, Niece… delete where applicable) enjoys a good rom-com comedy with a bit of a heist thrown in, this could be their bag baby.
RRP £8.99

Buy it signed here £7.99 + £2.80 postage

Buy unsigned from amazon here

TGGGTGTG-drop-shadow

 

The Good Guy’s Guide To Getting The Girl

My debut novel… if your gift-recipient likes Chick Lit Rom Coms in the style of Nick Horny or Mike Gayle, this could well be right up their street.
RRP £8.99

Buy it signed here £7.99 + £2.80 postage

Buy unsigned from amazon here

cover with drop shadow

How to Do Everything and Be Happy

The book that started it all: ‘How To Do Everything and Be Happy’ is a book for ordinary people. With ordinary lives. It’s for people who have been ambling along and wondering why they’re not – well – just that little bit happier.
RRP £8.99

Buy it signed here £7.99 + £2.80 postage

Buy unsigned from amazon here

SDSW drop shadow colour small

How to Start Dating and Stop Waiting

If they need a real guide to getting the girl, or guy, this is it. Written for everyone who’s ever found dating a challenge, dating websites to be less than fulfilling, or ‘first dates’ terrifying… How To Start Dating And Stop Waiting will help them dodge the liars, & Lotharios, and have
them dating Mr or Ms Right in no time.
RRP £8.99

Buy it signed here £7.99 + £2.80 postage

Buy unsigned from amazon here

FITI kindle

From Invisible To Irresistible

The smaller, quirkier, companion guide to the previous title. Let me fix those underlying problems that make your otherwise attractive charming gift-recipient seemingly invisible to those they’d like to date.
RRP £8.99

Buy it signed here £7.99 + £2.80 postage

Buy unsigned from amazon here

 

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How to Eat Loads and Stay Slim

And finally.. How To Eat Loads and Stay Slim. It isn’t a diet book. Not in the traditional sense. It’s a book packed full of thought provoking, scientifically-provable, ideas and changes you can make to your life to increase your chances of being slim. Now that’s a gift that keeps on giving!
RRP £8.99

Buy it signed here £7.99 + £2.80 postage

Buy unsigned from amazon here


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Phoenix FM Happy Club: Why Random Acts Of Kindness Are Good For You

Over the last few weeks I’ve been playing catch up with some of the radio interviews I’ve given over the past few months, including my ‘Happy Club’ slot on Michelle Ward‘s show on Phoenix98 FM.

Way, way back in June of this year, Michelle and I chewed over the topic of Random Acts Of Kindness and some intriguing scientific research that’s discovered…

  1. it really is better to give than recieve, but
  2. you might be better storing up your kind acts and doing them all on one day!

Click the big play button in the image below, or here if you’re reading this in an email.

We chat about what makes an act of kindness truly random, and discover that Michelle’s listeners seem to have a fondness for buying people cakes. Useful to know if you happen to live in the Brentwood / Billericay area of Essex, UK. And we get completely off topic and start talking about my X-factor style audition to be an official Women’s Institute Speaker. (I passed. Just in case you were worried about that)

But back to Random Acts of Kindness; check out this fabulous Thai advertisement for Life Insurance. If this doesn’t bring a lump to your throat then I swear you’re made of stone. Click here if you’re reading this in an email.

Want More Tips?

All four of my How To books are available in paperback, audio and for your kindle enabled device. In most cases the kindle versions are less than the price of a cup of coffee! Jeepers! Click here to find out more.

You don’t need a Kindle device to read a Kindle book. Download the FREE kindle app for your computer, smart phone or tablet from amazon (.co.uk | .com)


TGGGTGTG drop shadowDuring the show Michelle asks why my debut novel, The Good Guy’s Guide To Getting The Girlisn’t available yet. I squirm uncomfortably in my chair and try and come up with a plausible sounding reason. Fortunately though it is finally available!

The official launch is September 12th 2014 (that’s next week!), when the ebook will be less than a quid for a very limited period, and I’ll be personally delivering copies to anyone who wants one (that last bit might not be true). Subscribe to this blog to be reminded of the launch nearer the time, but if you can’t wait to flick through the contents of my imagination, click here now.


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Phoenix FM ‘Happy Club’: Goals VS New Years Resolutions

Last month I popped into the studios of Phoenix98 FM to discuss ‘happiness’, New Years Resolutions and Goals with the delightful Michelle Ward.

To listen to the show click the big play button in the image below (or if you’re reading this in an email, click here)

Things mentioned during the show

Got a question for next month’s show?

If you have a question for next month’s show feel free to drop me a line, post a comment below, tweet either myself or Michelle, or send me a message on facebook.

The theme for February will be ‘Luuuurve


Michelle’s live on Phoenix FM every weekday from 10am.


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Advanced Boxing Day – Extra Tips!

Why not post this image on facebook or twitter when you have your next Boxing Day?So, you recently had a Boxing Day. You obeyed all the rules, took all the advice – and yet somehow it still didn’t rock your world. Maybe it was a little dull.

That can happen.

It’s happened to me.

In fact the more Boxing Days I’ve had, the more it’s happened. And when I came to analyse it (because sadly that’s the sort of thing I do) I came to the conclusion that Boxing Day might need some tweaking.

Here are a couple of new ideas that I’ve been experimenting with since the first edition of this book, and are really working for me.

Avoid hedonistic habituation

Once you’ve had a few Boxing Days it becomes surprisingly difficult to keep your Boxing Days totally spontaneous. I got into a bad habit of always having a bottle of champagne, and always making a truck load of flapjacks. Not only was this a tad expensive, but after a while Boxing Day started to lose its magical powers.

What I hadn’t realised at the time was that I was experiencing something that scientists refer to as ‘Hedonistic Habituation’. Regardless of how pleasurable an activity is, much of it’s pleasure is actually derived from its ‘newness’. So whilst I thought I was relying on activities that had worked on previous Boxing Days, I had, in fact, got myself into a boozy, flapjacky rut.

This seems so obvious now. Though it’s also a little annoying. It means that even when I eventually emulate get to my hero Julio Casi Amoreo, my days spent sitting around the pool of my villa in southern Italy, admiring my scantily clad ‘friends’, will get progressively less and less pleasurable the more familiar it becomes.

Fortunately there’s an antidote:

Do Something New

To avoid Hedonistic Habituation, when your Boxing Day arrives try to do at least one ‘new thing’, and if possible, make that the first thing you do.

Now come on.

Don’t be like that.

I know how hard that sounds and I realise I’ve made Boxing Day a whole lot more difficult. Not only have you got to pre-book Boxing Day, arrange for baby sitters and the like, tell friends and family that you’re doing something else, and avoid the temptation to plan something for the day, but when the day actually arrives you’ve somehow got to conjure a new activity out of thin air? Just what kind of self-help book is this!? But bear with me for a moment, because I have two simple techniques that will enable you to do just that.

Tweak previous activities

An astonishingly simple way of coming up with new Boxing Day activities is to think back to past Boxing Days and things you did that were a real hit, and tweak them!

Take me for example. Last Boxing Day, rather than reach for a kilo of oats and a tin of Golden Syrup, I decided to make Chocolate Brownies. Have I ever made Chocolate Brownies before? No. Were they any good? Mmmm… not really. Did I enjoy myself. Absolutely.

So, if you’ve got into the habit of going to the gym on your Boxing Days, try a different exercise class, or a different gym. If you find you always go fishing, try a different lake or river. If you find yourself painting watercolours, experiment with charcoal sticks or oil pastels. If you usually end up on the sofa watching rom-coms, download a rom-com to your e-reader. Or go to the cinema. Or watch an action movie instead. You get the general idea.

The interesting thing is that most activities only require the smallest bit of tweaking in order to activate that part of your brain that gets enjoyment out of ‘the new’. And once it’s activated it’s amazing how little effort the rest of the day needs to be a success.

Let me know how you get on.

Potential Boxing Day Activities List

A second way to ensure that you can always think of something new is to keep a ‘Potential Boxing Day Activities’ List.

You’ve probably realised that I’m a bit of a list maniac. ‘Lists’ are my solution to everything. And when it comes to potential Boxing Day activities it really works. Where and how you keep your list is entirely up to you but personally I like to keep a ‘notepad’ document on my computer’s desktop so that I can open the list, add to it, save it, and close it again, all within a few seconds. You might be able to keep a list on your phone. Or in the back of your filofax. Or in a small notepad in your handbag. But whatever you do it’s important that the list is usually close to hand so that when inspiration strikes you can add to the list right away.

Remember too that to be true Boxing Day potentials, all the activities on the list must be things that require no pre-planning. The only time you’re going to consult this list is either when you add to it, or when you bound out of bed on Boxing Day morning.

I can’t claim 100% credit for the Potential Boxing Day list. Within days of me mulling the concept over in my mind, reader Emma posted a comment on this blog suggesting much the same thing.

On her list of Potential Boxing Day ideas were the following:

  • Get the tattoo I’ve been wanting for a while
  • Visit the zoo/cinema/theatre
  • Get a massage/manicure
  • Go shopping at Manchester/Newcastle or anywhere within a 3 hour radius
  • Go walking/gym/swimming
  • Bake something
  • Horse riding

Emma says that having the list there meant that she actually got excited about the idea of Boxing Day – which can only be a good thing.

Timing

Like good comedy the success of your Boxing Day might rely heavily upon timing.

Though I don’t make it a hard and fast rule I have been known to move Boxing Day to avoid bad weather, or times when I’m particularly tired. And whilst you’d think that a Boxing Day might be a good way to lift your spirits if you’re feeling a bit low, personally I’ve found the complete opposite is true.

Boxing Day seems to have the ability to make good days even better – but also bad days significantly worse.

You’ll probably already know if there are certain times of the month when a Boxing Day might be doomed to failure. I suspect it’s a very personal thing, but I have readers who avoid the following times of the month:

  • “The end of the month – I get paid at the start!”
  • “My menstrual cycle, There’s nothing worse than feeling yuk on a Boxing Day”
  • “A week or so after a full moon – when the moon is waning.”

Cut yourself some slack!

Though it pains me to admit it, despite all the rules, tips and advice I’ve given you, I can’t guarantee that Boxing Day will work each and every time. Occasionally, as I said a little earlier, you’re bound to have a duff one. It took me a long time to accept this fact but I’ve learnt that when this happens it’s best just to shrug, and move on. For when it comes to creating happiness whilst Boxing Days are great, they’re not the whole answer. Well, of course they’re not! Otherwise it would be a very short book, and a very small blog…. 

Thoughts?

If you have any tips for ensuring your Boxing Day is a success feel free to post them in the comments below, on twitter, or on the facebook page.


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Della Galton interviews me on / about ‘Boxing Day’

DellaEarlier today (well, yesterday by the time you read this), Della Galton – author, journalist, women’s magazine fiction legend, and all round lovely person – interviewed me, via the awesome power of twitter, about Boxing Day. Readers Vikki & Jayne chimed in too.

In case you missed it, here’s the transcript:

DellaGalton: So Peter @doitallbehappy are you ready to be interviewed about #boxingday
11:58am, Dec 26 from Web

doitallbehappy: @dellagalton Ready and waiting! Shoot! #boxingday
11:58am, Dec 26 from HootSuite

DellaGalton: @doitallbehappy I have it on good authority that you invented #boxingday is this true?
11:59am, Dec 26 from Web

doitallbehappy: @dellagalton I may have RE-invented #BoxingDay 🙂
12:00pm, Dec 26 from HootSuite

DellaGalton: @doitallbehappy So tell me about this re-invention?
12:01pm, Dec 26 from Web

doitallbehappy: @dellagalton It’s a kind of a chillout day, and I have one, on average, once a month
12:03pm, Dec 26 from HootSuite

DellaGalton: @doitallbehappy So you have a day exactly like today once a month. Is this right? Would you have Christmas Day and turkey the day before?
12:04pm, Dec 26 from Web

doitallbehappy: @dellagalton LOL. For me #BoxingDay isn’t anything to do with xmas. It’s only called Boxing Day because that’s when the 1st one happened.
12:07pm, Dec 26 from HootSuite

DellaGalton: @doitallbehappy So, are you saying anyone can have a #boxingday at any time of the year? What gave you this idea?
12:09pm, Dec 26 from Web

doitallbehappy: @dellagalton Yes. That’s the idea. I pre-plan my Boxing Days – one a month.
12:11pm, Dec 26 from HootSuite

DellaGalton: @doitallbehappy So what did you do on your last #boxingday, apart from this one that is 🙂
12:13pm, Dec 26 from Web

doitallbehappy: @dellagalton Gosh! I can’t remember exactly – I do so many things. But my Boxing Days definitely have themes
12:14pm, Dec 26 from HootSuite

DellaGalton: @doitallbehappy what kind of themes exactly?
12:15pm, Dec 26 from Web

doitallbehappy: @dellagalton Cooking is one; I’ve made chocolate brownies, treacle tart, many many pizzas (base included), and truck loads of flapjacks.
12:16pm, Dec 26 from HootSuite

DellaGalton: @doitallbehappy Are there any rules for #boxingday activities then?
12:17pm, Dec 26 from Web

doitallbehappy: @dellagalton @vikkithomp Rule 1: No-pre-planning! Rule 2: Book BD in advance. Rule 3: You can move BD but you can’t cancel it!!
12:19pm, Dec 26 from HootSuite

vikkithomp: @doitallbehappy @dellagalton So “planning” to have a day where I don’t go online is a no no? #BoxingDay (which I’ve now broken anyway lol) x
12:23pm, Dec 26 from Twitter for iPad

DellaGalton: @vikkithomp @doitallbehappy absolutely. you can do anything I reckon – and it would qualify.but let’s ask Peter 🙂
12:24pm, Dec 26 from Web

Jayne_A_Curtis: @DellaGalton @vikkithomp @doitallbehappy Im having a large Tia Maria on Ice, I definitely didnt plan it, honest.
12:29pm, Dec 26 from Web

DellaGalton: @Jayne_A_Curtis @vikkithomp @doitallbehappy Now, that sounds like a fine plan Jayne. Peter is this a valid #boxingday activity?
12:31pm, Dec 26 from Web

doitallbehappy: @dellagalton @Jayne_A_Curtis My first #BoxingDay I opened a bottle of champagne – so I guess that answers that! 🙂
12:32pm, Dec 26 from HootSuite

DellaGalton: @doitallbehappy @Jayne_A_Curtis Were you celebrating anything specific or just #Boxingday
12:33pm, Dec 26 from Web

doitallbehappy: @dellagalton I guess I was doing what Kate (my late wife) and I used to do on our Boxing Days.
12:35pm, Dec 26 from HootSuite

DellaGalton: @doitallbehappy Ah, so Kate was the reason you reinvented #boxingday?
12:38pm, Dec 26 from Web

doitallbehappy: @dellagalton In a way. BD was ‘our’ day. The 1st year without her I replicated what we’d done. After that I decided to do it each month.
12:40pm, Dec 26 from HootSuite

DellaGalton: @doitallbehappy Ahhh, that is so romantic. Have you had any other romantic #boxingdays? Romance sounds like a fine theme.
12:41pm, Dec 26 from Web

doitallbehappy: @dellagalton Is that an offer 😉
12:42pm, Dec 26 from HootSuite

DellaGalton: @doitallbehappy Right, Mr Jones, getting back to your book. Tell us where we can buy it again 🙂
12:42pm, Dec 26 from Web

doitallbehappy: @dellagalton It’s available as an ebook and audio right now – and @HarperCollinsUK are republishing it Jan 17th
12:44pm, Dec 26 from HootSuite

DellaGalton: @doitallbehappy @HarperCollinsUK Thank you so much Peter. I will let you get back to the official #boxingday. Have fun 🙂
12:46pm, Dec 26 from Web


Follow me on twitter @doitallbehappy and Della @dellagalton


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FAQ: Potential Goals Day Problem #1 – “I don’t have time”

Time Every now and again I get an email, or come across a review, where someone says that whilst they might have enjoyed the book, there’s just no way that they could find the time to have a Boxing Days, a Now List Day and a Goals Days, once a month! These people are convinced that to make How To Do Everything and Be happy work, you’ve to somehow conjure up 36 days out of thin air, each year.

It probably doesn’t help that from the outset I admit that I’m a man, without kids, who pretty much works from home. From that stand point a lot of readers probably assume that before I wrote the book I must have been sitting around all day, twiddling my thumbs, wondering what to do with my life.

They’re wrong.

But let me be clear on this point: You do not need to find 36 days (a year) to make this book work!

What is needed is a little ‘time accountancy’. Take all the important things you’re currently doing and shuffle them around to fit one of the three days mentioned in this book.

So let’s recap what each of the days are and how they fit into your oh-so-busy life.

Boxing Days

Boxing Day can usually be ‘reclaimed’ from activities, particularly weekend activities. Some people get up on Saturday and go shopping, or wash the car, or watch football on the TV, and for no other reason than it’s Saturday! If that’s you, one Saturday a month can now become Boxing Day. And if you wake up on that Boxing Day and you want to go shopping, wash the car, or watch the match, then go right ahead.

Now List Days

These don’t have to be whole days. Not if you’re planning. You can break them down and have Now List evenings, lunchtimes, even breakfasts. And if you’re not planning – if you’re actually ready to do an item on your list – that might be a perfect vacation activity rather than spending another day sitting around the pool.

Goal Days

Goal Days are twelve measly days out of 365 to be spent on the three things that you want most of all in life.

Let me say that again:

The three things you want
MOST OF ALL!

Before you heard about this book one of two things was happening. Either you were completely ignoring all the things that are now on your Wish List, in which case you were probably deeply unhappy or, more likely, you were struggling to address those three things, albeit in your own way.

Long before I discovered the power of goals I spent many an evening and weekend struggling to turn my writing, and other interests, into something that might bring in a few quid. If you’ve been doing the same then all that time you currently spend working on your dreams and ambitions can now be reallocated as Goal Days (or evenings, weekends etc). Maybe it’s not 12 days a year – maybe it isn’t that structured – but it’s time that you don’t have to ‘find’. All you need to do is start using it properly.

I understand that you’re busy. I do. And I appreciate that if you work for someone else, and/or you’re a parent, you probably can’t juggle your diary quite as effectively as I can. I get that. But whilst I’ve never been a parent, I wasn’t always self employed. And whilst life is hardly fair at the best of times, one thing that does seem to be consistent is that anything worth having in this world usually comes at a price. And it’s usually a lot more expensive than you initially thought. Happiness is one of those things. To get it you have to work. Hard!