Cultivate a garden

With more than 30 years of horticulture experience, gardening expert, TV/radio host, author and columnist Melinda Myers gave 24Life the dirt on top tips for a “DIY” garden … 

  • If you’re planning to plant your first garden, start small. You don’t want to end up overwhelmed during your first harvest and swearing off the hobby before you learn to love it. The best way to choose what to grow is to decide what you’d like to eat and use in recipes.
  • When it comes to choosing ingredients that have diversity, tomatoes produce a lot for one plant, and both sweet and hot peppers can be used in many recipes. If you’re anxious to see the fruits of your labor, lettuces and greens move quickly from seed to harvest.
  • One of the biggest mistakes that new gardeners make is planting things too close together. When plants are too close to each other, the productivity of the harvest will drop, and the risk for disease will go up.  
  • What to look for on the label when you shop? You should be sure to check what space constraints a plant needs when it reaches full size. Seedlings, small perennials and young shrubs grow quickly, so you’ll need plenty of room.

And don’t worry about mixing. It’s okay to put edibles, herbs and even flowers all together in the garden to maximize your planting space and develop beautiful and productive combinations.

Rev up your day with smarter nutrition

Regarded as a transformational nutritionist in the health community, best-selling author, media personality and nutritionist-to-the-stars Cynthia Pasquella helps people create change in their lives through food. 24Life got Pasquella’s tips for “DIY” nutrition …

  • If you want to get energized, you can try jumpstarting your day with bulletproof coffee. And to sustain energy and burn fat all day long, you want to make sure you’re eating enough healthy fats. Try adding healthy fats like avocado, walnuts, salmon, olive oil and coconut oil into your daily routine. And don’t miss out on tomatoes. They are rich in phytochemicals that stimulate the production of carnitine, an amino acid, which helps break down body fat so your body can use it as energy. 
  • When it comes to food prep, the best way to do it is to organize all of your ingredients before you start cooking — measure everything out in advance. This saves you so much time in the kitchen and keeps you from running all over the place grabbing items while you’re trying to follow your recipe. With everything ready in advance, you’ll be able to put together a healthy meal in record time without making a mess along the way.
  • Spring cleaning? Keeping your kitchen clean and organized can save you so much time and money in the long run. Throw out storage containers that don’t have lids, put like with like — meaning all your smoothie ingredients and tools in one place, and all of your salad ingredients together in the fridge, so that you can quickly and easily find what you need and see what you have on hand. This will save you from buying duplicate items that you already had hidden in the back of your pantry, ultimately cutting down your meal-prep time.  
  • Snack time. One of the most convenient and healthy on-the-go snacks you can choose is a banana. They’re high in potassium, fiber, vitamins, and natural sugars and provide a quick burst of energy that actually lasts.  

Take charge of your financial abundance 

With more than 25 years of working with hundreds of tax clients, Joy Principe, a success and well-being coach and a CPA, is known for helping people to establish a strong, positive belief in their financial potential. 24Life asked Principe to give us her top tips for “DIY” financial freedom …

  • Look at the big picture. Although the day-to-day responsibilities of your financial world are important, it’s critical to take the time to look at the big picture. You need to begin to identify and speak about your definition of abundance. As you do, it will keep expanding. You may be surprised to know that it includes health, money and relationships. All wealth begins in the human mind, and here are two experiments you can do for yourself to begin growing a sense of abundance: 

1: Stretch your set point. Just like a thermostat set at a fixed number, our wealth won’t increase until we literally change the setting. We can do this by imagining our life at a new level. So in your imagination, play with the idea of doubling, tripling and quadrupling your income. Enjoy this new level of wealth and make note of any limitations that come to the surface so you can begin to dissolve them. You may see that thinking about what you could have will help you to actually get there. 

2: Allocate a few minutes each day to creative thinking. This is a fun time to notice the places in your life where you are already feeling rich. Moments to appreciate include anything from taking a brisk walk that reminds you of your healthy body, to recognition at work or even just noticing the way your cozy bed feels after a long day. Once you’ve identified this richness, speak or write an affirmation of abundance such as “I continually expand this sense of abundance to the next level” or “I’m open to seeing new and exciting opportunities and I trust myself to take actions that will lead to greater success.” With this positive mindset, you’re sure to be primed for more richness in all aspects of your life.

  • Take back tax time. When it comes to tax season, nothing can give you greater empowerment than successfully doing your own tax return. In order to do it right, follow these steps:
  • Find and use an online tax organizer to help you gather all of your information and prompt you to look for overlooked deductions. Here’s an example of one.
  • Then, you want to use a program that walks you through the process by asking questions and guides you to prepare the correct forms automatically. I use the professional products, but here is a version for doing your own.
  • Finally, use tax season as a time to reflect and plan for the future. Ask yourself what are you proud of financially. Ask yourself what didn’t go quite as well. Both success and disappointments provide valuable information that can support you going forward. This is the perfect time to set a new intention for the coming year – one that you can celebrate next year.