Jan 6, 2014

Collecting small wins

5 days have already passed by in this new year. In a blink, we might find ourselves in the end of January. Days fly past so quickly that we sometimes wonder what we did in the last one month (and eventually, the last one year). I have been in such situations quite often and so I decided to start a tiny habit which I have named as "Small wins".

In my brand new 2014 diary, I have started a separate section where I'm writing down my small achievements everyday that has made some difference to either me or my family. For example,
- when I went to an ice-cream parlor and didn't have a scoop of ice-cream (a spoon to taste doesn't count though ;-) ).
- when I did 1 mile Leslie Sansone walk (I know people who walk 4-5 miles, but for someone like me, 1 mile is a victory)

I'm hoping that these small, tiny wins would make a big difference at the end of the year. And it would also be fun to read them later and have a laugh with loved ones.

If you would also like to start something similar,
- grab a 2014 diary if you love pen and paper. Or just add a note in Google calendar.
- at the end of everyday, spend 5 minutes, thinking about those small wins of that day. It could be anything, for instance:
     - you controlled your short temper towards some incident and didn't react immediately
     - you read a few pages of a book you have been wanting to read
     - you ate just 1 piece of a dessert instead of the usual 2 pieces
     - you woke up 15 min earlier than usual
- note them down and end with a smiley :-)

Behavior change doesn't happen overnight. Most of the times, we end up disappointed after a week into the new year, when we fail to keep up our resolutions. Taking tiny steps, making small conscious changes and being aware of our day-to-day choices help us move forward in our lives.

In one of the episodes of Castle (my recent favorite show), he says "Life is a journey and you can't predict the outcome.  The only thing that you can control are the choices you make and that defines who you are." Inspiration came from unexpected source and I quickly jotted it down in my Evernote app :-)

These small wins are like the shells that we run around and collect from a sea shore. Once we bring them home, we can make beautiful collages as a whole.

Start collecting your small wins, they can be such a positive boost to our day-to-day lives.

Jan 5, 2014

Developing kid's interest in salads

As an evening snack, I prepared a bowl of salad yesterday for my 2 year old daughter. She loves steamed sweet corn and tomatoes. Along with these two core ingredients, I also added steamed green gram sprouts, cucumber and carrots, with a dash of salt, pepper, lemon juice and chaat masala.

She loved the way I shake the bowl to mix all the ingredients together. I let her eat on her own, using a spoon. As she was carefully picking out sweet corn and tomatoes, I also showed her the other veggies. I started a conversation with her, asking her the colors of the vegetables and she answered them right. She then started picking sprouts and cucumber on her own and ate a few spoons. She isn't a big fan of raw carrots but I added it anyway, just to ensure she takes a couple of bites at least. To my surprise, she did pick a few of the pieces and chewed them, without spitting it out.

I wanted to share what worked for me and my child, in this whole experience:
- I engaged her during the salad preparation process. She saw me chopping the vegetables, while sitting on the kitchen counter. This intrigued her and developed her interest towards the food.
- I gave more importance to the vegetables she likes and complemented them with other vegetables I want her to try
- She took the cup and spoon and fed herself. Because of the freedom to explore, she was willing to try other vegetables as well
- There was a good interaction opportunity for us, when she asked me to shake the bowl and when I asked her about the colors of different vegetables.

Hope these small tips are useful for other mothers.

Jan 2, 2014

2013 in review

Although my blogging frequency has been quite low, I definitely would like to keep up the tradition of reviewing the concluded year. It feels nice to know that I can go back to get a glimpse of how the past 8 years were.

I read this interesting quote somewhere - "We overestimate how much we can achieve in a day and underestimate how much we can achieve in a year". 2013 was a productive and most importantly, an emotionally peaceful year. It started off with completing the long pending tasks (ones that are important but not urgent) such as dental treatments, health checkups, passport renewal and getting a new passport for D.

D has grown quite fast, from crawling to walking to running. She speaks so much and sings a lot of nursery rhymes. She is no longer a small baby but an individual with her own interests and wishes that "must" be fulfilled at any cost. She is in that phase where if she doesn't get what she wants, she will throw a big tantrum. At the same time, she does so many cute things that can just melt us and cheer our hearts. It feels like living my childhood all over again with her.

She has started going to a play-school nearby. Though it took her a while to settle down, it is a major milestone for us as a family. She is picking up English words and can recognize alphabets, colors, vegetables and fruits.

On the professional front, I got back to working with an early stage startup focused on a domain close to my heart. Nutrition and healthy living led me towards HealthifyMe. I reached out to the founders and we worked out an option of me working from home. Talking about remote work, I have lots to write about, which I shall do in a separate blog post. It has a been an interesting comeback after a 2 year break, with lots of learnings and opportunities. I also managed to attend Nasscom Product Conclave this year. It was wonderful to catch up with my ex-colleagues from Yahoo! and Cleartrip.

The most important event on the personal front was my brother's wedding. I'm very happy for him to have found his right partner for life. Spending a week in Chennai with the summer at its peak, the wedding ceremonies and most importantly, D's stranger anxiety with our other family members and relatives - challenging but memorable experiences.

With a 2 year old, we didn't travel much outside the city but we roamed a lot within the city. D loves outdoors and she made sure we go "tata" every other day - be it for ice creams, cakes or just grocery shopping. We took a short trip to Mysore in March which was D's first ever trip outside Bangalore. She was quite excited and loved the zoo. We took a "real" vacation in Orange County which was relaxing.

Reading took a big hit this year as well. I just managed to finish one book "Life is what you make it" by Preeti Shenoy. A good read. I started reading "Immortals of Meluha" but after pushing through 200 pages, I realized it's just dragging and I gave up. This year, I'm extremely serious about getting back to reading.

The other aspect that I need to pay more attention this year is towards my health. I have been falling sick more often than I usually am and on top of it, I have not been exercising as well. Though I'm conscious of what I eat, I need to incorporate exercise regimen somewhere into my daily schedule.

I'm starting 2014 with lots of hope and excitement. There are many new areas I want to explore, one of them being baking. My new microwave oven has arrived !!

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy new year. Don't think about resolutions but identify 2-3 themes of your life which deserve your attention and go for them!

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