February 26th, 2024

All Psyched Up: The recipe of life

By Linda Hancock on January 20, 2024.

I love domestic activities and cooking is one of my favourite interests. Years ago, I remember hearing talk show host David Letterman explain the difference between cooking and baking. He said that baking requires precision in that you have to measure and follow the recipe exactly whereas cooking involves being creative and adding whatever you want to the recipe.

I have always believed life is like a recipe as there are many parallels. If you are going to function in a healthy manner, take tips from the culinary world:

1. Outcome – First you need to think about the results for which you are striving. If you are cooking for a family, you likely already know everyone’s favourites. On the other hand, banquets for large groups are quite different as you will need to consider quantity, quality and special needs of those who will attend. Goal setting in life also requires consideration of not only your own needs but also those in your inner circle.

2. Planning – Creating a menu can be time-consuming but also can save time and effort in the long run. Add interest with a variety of foods, different methods of cooking and consideration of the time required for preparation. When you are setting other goals for life, these ideas are also important. Avoid boredom and stress by planning things that will be enjoyable during both anticipation and realization stages.

3. Think smart, not hard – It is just as easy to prepare enough for four meals at a time rather than just one meal. The only difference is the quantity. Cook four, eat one and freeze three for other nights when you are tired. No matter what you are doing in life, it is wise to think about how you can multi-task or use your brain to save work in the future.

4. Assessing resources – Know what you already have in the freezer and pantry. You can save money and shopping time by doing this and also rotate food that you previously purchased. Most of us also have many personal skills as well as items in our homes that we could utilize rather than starting over or thinking that we have to buy something new. If you learned or purchased something in the past, I am guessing that you thought that thing was important at the time Don’t store or ignore it. Use it!

5. Know the limitations – When you don’t have enough energy, time or ingredients, it is important to go back to item #2 above and revise your plan. Often, when I was working full-time, doing on-call shifts and studying for university, I had to adjust my plan. For example, I knew that I could write an essay much faster when I was rested so frequently would get home from work, set an alarm for two hours, sleep and then tackle the project when I awakened. Success!

6. Organize, strategize – When your kitchen is set up so things can be accessed easily, you will save both time and frustration. When I am baking, I always put all the ingredients on the counter where I am working before I begin. That way I am sure that I have enough of everything. As I measure and add to the bowl, I return the items to the cupboard. When the counter is empty, I know that I am done! Reaching other goals is also easier if you prepare what you need before starting and have strategies that are proven to give good results.

7. Collaborate – It is always beneficial to work with others to create wonderful, nutritious foods. This fall, for example, my daughter, son-in-law and I canned pickles and made crabapple jelly together. Three sets of hands lightened the load and also provided time together to talk and listen to music. Goals are often reached quicker when we have others involved. That is also how we learn short-cuts from the individuals who are involved!

8. Celebrate and share the wealth – Everyone has warm thoughts about a Thanksgiving dinner or a favourite dessert that grandma used to make. Think of the birthday cakes you have had over the years. Nice, right? Well, food is often part of not only everyday life but also special occasions. Baking can be a nice gift to give to another person too. Always remember to celebrate and share positive achievements with others.

This week I was advised that I have been honoured with a Canadian Business Award 2024 for the Most Inspirational Psychologist (Alberta). I share this with you because you and the newspapers who publish this column have encouraged and inspired me with your support over the years. I humbly thank you for your readership!

So, what kinds of recipes and goals are you cooking up for this week?

Enjoy the process and the results!

Dr. Linda Hancock, the author of “Life is An Adventure…every step of the way” and “Open for Business Success” is a Registered Psychologist who has a private practice. Visit http://www.LindaHancock.com or email her at office@drlindahancock.com.

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