2017-01-02-08-04-06

Welcome to the New Year!

The new year of 2017 is here!

The time right after the holidays is kind of weird.  Most of us are in Holiday Hangover, and for me personally, Christmas Day is always a little sad.  I love the build up to Christmas, enjoying the lights, the music, the baking, the parties… Then suddenly it’s all over and we’re left with the clean up, the credit card bills, and the ten pounds we gained.  Maybe that’s why most everyone hates January.

Yes, it’s cold, snowy (for a lot of us) and pretty miserable.  And poor, sad January doesn’t get to boast of it’s own holiday (other than New Year’s Day, but, seriously, is this really a holiday because it doesn’t really feel like one…)  If you’re January, you get to be like the weird uncle that shows up to visit after fun grandma just left…everyone is tired from all the fun they had with grandma and wishing you’d just cut your visit short and go home.

I personally think that January gets a bad rap.  For some reason, I really look forward to January!  I still hate the cold, but I kind of enjoy a little snow if I have nowhere to go.  I feel all kinds of motivation to start new projects, set some goals (NOT resolutions, which I think are stupid) and get things done!

As much as I love Christmas,  I must admit that I also love taking all the decorations down.  I’m not sure why, but every year I have this moment where I snap and suddenly want it all gone as quickly as possible.  It becomes a personal challenge to see just how fast I can make it all disappear, and this year I believe I beat my own personal record and we had it all down and packed away in 45 minutes.  By the time my son got out of bed…POOF!…it had vanished.  Boy, was he surprised.

As per my usual self, I have a list of projects a mile long.  I usually start every year this way and then burn myself out about halfway through February (or after about two projects, depending on the size.)  This year, in the hopes that this will not happen, I am going to be dividing these projects into more bite-sized chunks.  I plan to use my bullet journal for this.

So what is a Bullet Journal?

I know I have mentioned my bullet journal before, but never really explained.  If you’re unfamiliar with the bullet journal, it is basically a personalized planner.  The thing that I LOVE about it, is that it becomes whatever you need it to be.  There are no pre-defined printed pages for you to fill in–it starts with a blank notebook.  From there, you create whatever you want and whatever works best for you. For the very, very basics of how you use a bullet journal, I suggest you start with this link:  Bulletjournal.com

As I said before, you can personalize the bullet journal to whatever you’d like it to look like and whatever system works for you.  You can be completely simple, the way Ryder Carroll designed it, or you can be creative and artsy with it.

I like to do my monthly pages like this:

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I have my monthly dates divided so I can list appointments, events and things to remember by category instead of a giant clump on each day.  I also like to create a master list of things I’d like to do during the month, what project(s) I want to work on, and a blurb about goals.  Notice the size of that projects box?  I kept it pretty small for a reason.  Same with the goals box.

The Daily Task List

Instead of doing a daily task list like it talks about on bulletjournal.com,  I prefer to do my tasks lists by the week.  I create a weekly spread like this:

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Rather than list all the things I do daily (or try to do daily) over and over again each day, I like the weekly tracker with boxes to check off each day.  Saves time.  Some people like to make a monthly tracker for the whole month, and I tried that, but found that some weeks I want to add something that I may not need to do for the whole month, so the weekly works better for me.  Some things on my weekly tracker are not necessarily daily tasks, but just things I’d like to try and do each day if I can, like scrapbooking.  I also added some things that I consider goals, like eating fruits and veggies.

The tasks box is for things I need to do during the week but I’m not sure what day I will get to them. These are usually things that I am migrating from the week before that didn’t get finished but I still need to do them.

The shopping box is a place to write things I need that I discover I am out of, but will probably not remember when I’m at the store unless I have it written down.  Did I mention that I take my bullet journal with me everywhere I go?

Another great thing about a bullet journal is if you try it one way and it doesn’t work for you, you’re not locked in–there is always a new blank page and another idea to try!  You can create pages to track anything and everything.   I will post some more interesting pages in the coming days as I get them finished.  I will also post information about the book I am using (and where to find one) and some links to some great bullet journal sites that I follow.

So for now, welcome to January!  I hope everyone is feeling as motivated as I am!

2017-01-02-08-04-06

5 Reasons Why I Struggle Following Through

running-away-1

I’m sure I’m not the only one that does all my best thinking in the shower, right?  I get struck with some lightning of an idea—a new goal in mind.  It’s usually pretty fabulous when it first comes to me, and I fall instantly in love with it and jump right in without thinking.  Then I overwhelm myself, trying to do too much too fast…the feelings of self-doubt creep in and I start to think I was an idiot for starting, and maybe I even burn myself out because I let my wild ideas take over and run my life.  Years down the road, my life is now one giant tale of unfinished projects and unfulfilled goals.

I’m not gonna lie. I have started a blog before.  Three times, actually.

The first time was just one of those fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants decisions that you make one moment when you tell yourself “Hey!  I have something to say and everyone in the world will love to hear from me.” So I jumped in and started it.  I wrote something here and there, a lot of rants about things, and some of it came out pretty good, and some of it didn’t, but I made the horrible mistake of looking around at other blogs way too often and it made me feel like I was less than adequate.  Slowly, the first blog got dismissed and left in the dust as I wrote less and less often, until I didn’t write at all anymore.

The other endeavor started after seeing all the food blogs out there and thinking that maybe that would be my true calling.  I posted some recipes but once again lost steam after realizing that I’m kind of a picky eater and my collection of recipes would be sparse.  So that one fell by the wayside too.

My third attempt was in collaboration with my sister and we started a blog about scrapbooking.  We started off pretty strong but slowly petered out on that one too.  I’m not even sure why, but I’m certain it involved some serious feelings of self-doubt because that seems to be a common thread with me.

The sad thing is, all three of these experiments involved things I feel very passionate about.  I love writing and telling stories…I love to cook (mostly baking)…and I believe that scrapbooking and preserving memories are one of the most valuable uses of time on the face of the whole earth—especially as I have gotten older and realize how fast life passes by.  I also think I’m pretty good at all three of them.  So why couldn’t I make any of them work?

1.      Fear that I can’t compete with others

Spending time looking at other blogs absolutely killed me!  I spent so much time comparing what I was doing to what others were doing that there was no way I was going to come out ahead on that one.  I came across a quote in a book recently that made me realize what I was doing wrong.

“Winners compare their achievements with their goals while losers compare their achievements with those of other people” –Nido Quibien

This has been me…behaving like a loser.  It wasn’t just the blog itself, either, it was what they were blogging about.  I see perfectly decorated homes, with perfectly organized cupboards, perfect food on perfect plates, or perfect scrapbook pages that someone manages to throw together in a mere twenty minutes.  I look around at piles of shoes by the front door or realize that I can’t even see the top of my kitchen table for all the clutter and this is followed by me sitting down to feel bad about myself.  While I’m busy with my pity party, time ticks away and pretty soon the family rolls in the door and I haven’t even begun to think about dinner.  So much for perfect food on perfect plates.  Time for frozen pizza on paper plates…except then I realize we’re out of paper plates and we’re rolling with paper towels instead.

2.      I believe I’m just too late and too old

The blogging craze started years ago and many of the most successful ones have been around since the beginning.  Is there really room in the universe for another blog?  Everyone has already picked their favorites and there is only so much time in the day, so that ship has sailed.  In addition, I look around at many of the blogs I used to read that post about scrapbooking and many of them have just stopped posting anything new.  Is it true that scrapbooking is going the way of all craftiness and people have lost their enthusiasm?  Did the window for this particular brand of blogging already close?  It feels sometimes like I’m a day late and a dollar short for everything.  Add this to the fact that I’m kind of old (this goes back to my earlier comment about competing with others) and I watch these young girls posting about perfect parenting of their perfect toddlers… My kids are grown and (mostly) gone from the house now.  I managed to get them to adulthood without killing them, either intentionally or through negligence, but I’m not sure that alone qualifies me as an expert.

3.      It has to be perfect

Perfectionism has long been my most wild adversary.  You know that saying “If you’re going to do something, do it right.”  I’ve taken that saying into a whole new realm and live with the adage “If you’re going to do something, do it perfectly, or don’t bother.”  I know I’m not alone here.  Admit it.  Let’s talk about an example:

A couple of summers ago I reorganized my pantry.  I’m going to pat myself on the back right here and say that for the first time reorganizing my pantry in my sixteen years of living here, I finally got it right.  Everything I did works for me, and my pantry has stayed organized and clean ever since then. (Maybe one day I’ll do a blog post about what I did and share.)  But here’s where the non-finishing dork in me shows up:  I bought all these really nice/cute containers for things, all done with the end in mind—I wanted them to not just be cute, but that had to work for their intended purpose, and I did good because everything I got really does work!  So now, here I am with a pantry full of baskets and containers, everything works, everything fits, everything is in its place.   All that is left is to create labels for everything. Here’s my thought process:

“I have a label maker, so that would work.”

“I also have a Cricut, so I could cut cute vinyl labels.”

“I have seen some people make tags to hang on baskets, so that’s an idea.”

“In the meantime, I’ll write on some masking tape and stick it on everything until I decide which idea I like best.”

Fast forward two years and guess which labels I chose?  The masking tape ones…because the labels need to be perfect and once it’s done, there is no undoing.  That means I not only have to create the perfect label, but before I can even do that, I have to decide which idea is best.  Which leads me to my next problem:

4.      Making decisions is too hard

This one kind of goes hand in hand with the perfectionism one.  It happens a lot when I scrapbook.  I search and search for the perfect paper to go with some pictures I want to use.  I’ll find plenty of cute paper that will work, but that’s not good enough because what if there is something BETTER out there, and in an effort to rush into things, I miss it?  I do this with absolutely everything I do, whether it is decorating my family room, organizing my pantry, or finding a new recipe to cook for dinner.  It’s easier to not decide than to make the wrong decision.  This boils over into my blogging ambitions as I try to choose a name, choose a theme, or just figure out what to write about.

5.      Self-Doubt leads me to believe I have nothing to offer

This could also go back with the whole “competing with others” scenario, but yet it’s much deeper than that.  It’s not so much looking at what others have to offer and thinking you can’t keep up, but it’s about doubting your own abilities regardless of what anyone else is doing.  We all feel inadequate at times, some more than others.  This all goes back to fear of failure.  What if I try and it sucks?  What if I try and because it doesn’t work out, it validates every single negative thought I’ve ever had about myself and I realize I never should have tried because at least then I could live with the delusion that if I really wanted to, I could do it?  What if everyone thinks I’m a dork for even trying?  Add this all to the fact that I don’t honestly know what I’m doing or how to do it, and when I start to research, I realize how woefully inadequate my (not so vast) stores of knowledge really are.

 

The truth is, whether it’s blogging or some other ambition you have in mind, we all struggle with fear.

In an effort to try to pull myself out of this rut, I have been trying to work on my personal development.  I’ve been reading a lot and came upon the following quote that has quickly become my favorite.  I am trying to read it every day and work it into my core beliefs so that I can overcome all of these challenges that keep me from living my best life.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.  Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.  It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.  We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?  Actually, who are you not to be?  You are a child of God.  Your playing small does not serve the world.  There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that others won’t feel insecure around you.  We are all meant to shine, as children do.  We were born to make manifest the Glory of God that is within us.  It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone.  And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.  As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” –Marianne Williamson,  A Return to Love

So all of this leads me to this new place

Here I am, working on another blog.  I’m not sure where it’s going to go.  I want to incorporate all those things that I love, all in one place, so there will probably be a lot of mish mash and chaos, some silly stories, some recipes, and some scrapbooking stuff all mushed in together in some haphazard sort of way, but I have to stop looking at what everyone else is doing and just be me.  I have an uncontrollable junk counter, a pile of shoes by the front door, and the containers in my pantry don’t have cutesy little vinyl labels on them (plus they are mostly empty because I keep forgetting to buy stuff when I’m at the store… I think my list is somewhere on the junk counter.)    Hopefully somewhere along the way I’ll pick up some friends that will be happy to know they are not alone in their own personal struggles to follow through.  I’d love to hear from anyone that feels like I do…

What personal goal are YOU struggling to follow through on?

 

2017-01-02-08-04-06

Are You Living a Level 10 Life?

time to wake up

I recently wrote a post about my Miracle Morning and how it has quite literally, changed everything about my day.  I’d like to note here that I am still doing the Miracle Morning and it is still just as awesome as ever!  If you haven’t had a chance to read about it, you can visit my post here .

At the end of the book, the author challenged me to take the 30 day challenge, and I accepted.  That meant making a visit to the Miracle Morning website to download the toolkit.  It was all free, and gave me examples to follow for writing my own affirmations and ideas for journaling.  It was on the website that I found my absolute favorite part of the Miracle Morning. It’s called the Level 10 Life.  I’ve been working on it, and it’s actually pretty eye-opening.

So what is the Level 10 Life?

If you were to divide your life up into ten important categories, define each area by what you think it would look like if you were living it perfectly and then rate yourself on how you’re doing at this very minute, how do you think you’d be doing?  I’ll tell you how I’m doing.  I suck, that’s how.

This was a really good exercise for me. First of all, it made me really think about what perfection in each area looks like.  Writing the definitions was really difficult!  The great thing about it is that it’s completely personal.  What I think is a perfect 10 and what you think is perfect 10 might be completely different, and that’s okay.  We aren’t all meant to live the same life, we don’t all have the same goals or the same talents.  Once I got the definitions done, it was time to fill out the little graph.  I had to honestly evaluate myself and assign myself a number.  It might have been easy to lie and say I am more spiritual than I really am, but I would only be lying to myself.  The graph is basically a wheel, with each spoke of the wheel representing a different category.  It looks like this:

level 10 life

After the evaluation was done I spent a quiet moment berating myself and then realized I needed to stop, because it isn’t about living the perfect life, it’s about moving towards the perfect life.  We will never, not one of us, create the perfect life in every area during this lifetime because it isn’t possible.  All we can do is identify our weaknesses and do our best to try to improve every single day, keeping our eye on the goal line.  The funny thing is, how many of us have never even defined the goal line?  Maybe we have a really broad definition, but it’s hard to determine whether or not you’ve gotten somewhere if you don’t really know where you’re going.

When I finally decided to stop moping, I started setting goals: two goals for each area.  Some of them were very specific, like “Pay off XXX amount of debt” while others were very general, like “actually engage in conversation when my kids are speaking to me instead of letting my mind wander or answering them in my head.”  The real end game here was to give myself actionable things to do that move me towards the Level 10 Life.

It has now been a couple of months since I finished filling in my graph and setting my goals and I can honestly say that I have seen some marked improvement in a couple of areas.  These goals, along with the affirmations that I wrote as a part of my Miracle Morning, and the bullet journal that I started have moved me forward.  I still have a long way to go, but forward is forward, and it’s definitely better than standing still.

Consider the following…

I’m certainly not going to fill this post with all the categories and how I defined them, but here are a few just to get you thinking.

Contributions/Giving

This was one of the harder topics for me. How would you rate yourself when it comes to giving?  The interesting part about this category for me is that you can define “giving” in a lot of ways.  Maybe you are really a generous person when it comes to donating to charity, paying fast offerings, or other monetary contributions.  But how about when it comes to your time?  Do you freely and willingly give your time?  Are you willing to donate time, but you do it begrudgingly?  How about talents?  If you know you’re good at something and someone else is not, do you willingly step in and help?  Do you wait for them to ask and then do it gladly?  Or do you hide your talents in hopes no one will know or ask?

There are a lot of ways that you can be a giving person, so trying to define what a perfect 10 is can be hard. Maybe you believe a truly giving person is one who would sacrifice Thanksgiving to work at a soup kitchen.  Or volunteering at a children’s hospital is the perfect 10.  Maybe you believe that you have to be Mother Teresa before you can call yourself perfect.  When I did my definitions, I didn’t go this far because I don’t think that is completely necessary.  Chances are good I will never be Mother Teresa, so saying that is the only way to live my perfect life in this area is only going to saddle me with disappointment.

Career/Work

So this one can be kind of interesting.  Maybe you feel like it doesn’t apply to you if you don’t have a career outside the home, but if anyone is going to try to tell me that being a stay at home mother isn’t a full time job I might have to punch that person in the throat.  While it might be tempting to lump your job as a mother in with the family category, I honestly don’t think it should be.  There are plenty of things we do as mothers that other people get paid for that actually have no correlation with our relationship with our spouse or children…like laundry, for instance.  Or how about meal planning, housekeeping, coordinating sports schedules, taxi service, teacher… The list goes on and on.  What is your definition of how you do this job, and if you did it perfectly, what would it look like?

If you’ve ever considered going back to school to get a degree, or thought maybe you’d like to take on a career in the future, this category could apply to that as well.  Maybe you have thought about how prepared you are if you suddenly became the breadwinner of your household, or you’ve thought about trying to turn a hobby into a money making opportunity…that could be included in your definition too.

Everything Else

I won’t go in to all the other categories, but I think those two kind of give you an idea of what is involved as you think through the process.  The other areas are:

  • Family and Friends
  • Personal Development
  • Spirituality
  • Finances
  • Fun and Recreation
  • Marriage/Significant Other
  • Physical Environment
  • Health and Fitness

Surprisingly, it didn’t take me that long to define everything.  It’s surprising how when you sit down and really think about what you want in your life it’s easy to pinpoint it.

One of my favorite quotes from the Miracle Morning 30-challenge says this:

Belief is the most powerful and creative force in the universe, which is possessed by every human being.  Every aspect of our lives—good or bad, both externally and internally—are born from our beliefs.  In you believe, truly believe, that you are capable of achieving success in an endeavor, you will pursue it until you achieve it.  On the other hand, if one does not truly believe that being successful is their right, then they will give up at the first sign of an obstacle.  If you believe you are deserving of love, you will inevitably attract it.  If you don’t, you won’t.  If you believe people are generally good, you will find the good in them. It is crucial that you consciously and actively reinforce the beliefs that will support you in confidently pursuing everything you want in your life.

I love this program and the Miracle Morning!  If you still haven’t taken a look at the book you can do so here.  You can also download a couple of free chapters or see the Miracle Morning 30-day challenge here (all the downloads are free and there is a smoothie recipe too.  I haven’t tried it but I should since I love smoothies!)  I wish I had known about this and started it years ago, but regardless of how late you start, it’s never too late!