Day 13

Confession time: this week I’ve been a little…absent minded. Whether it’s been at work or home, I haven’t been 100% there and focused. Except for when I ate an entire bag of jelly beans the other night and finally hung our new lamp fixture in the dining room.
Have you ever reached a place where you find yourself slacking a bit? I used to be the queen of always finding things to do. Now, I’ve let a few things slide. Like laundry. And meal planning. And going above and beyond at work.

Today I sat in on an interview with a potential intern and I listened as my boss explained to the interviewee what kind of hard working individuals we hire. “We’re looking for people who are willing to improve at whatever it is they’re doing, at least 10% every day,” she concluded.

Where can 10% take you?

10%. I walked out of the interview fixated on that number, and it stuck with me for the rest of the day. 10%. As I was cleaning up our office, I suddenly thought what if I clean this, but 10% better than what I’d normally do? What would that look like? Before I knew it, I created a rain readiness bucket for our future battles with El Niño (think: lots of rain).
10%.

Such a small number, but even that much of a percentage had me thinking about how to do what I was currently doing, but better. It’s a small enough step to not be daunting, but encouraging enough to make me want to push for higher quality results.
May you push yourself for that 10% today in whatever you do!

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Where did 2015 go?

Planning sucks.

Rather, planning can be life sucking. 2015 is coming to a close, and as I finally strung those glistening dollar store Christmas lights up around my living room window, I realized I was totally drained. And slightly miserable, à la Scrooge. All I could think about was everything I had not accomplished. My laundry pile was overflowing, we still didn’t have our Christmas tree, I’d missed going to the gym, why wasn’t my first draft written, why wasn’t I fluent in Spanish yet?? Wave after wave after wave of negative, downtrodden had me throwing a pity party for one.

I made a decision then and there, as I cursed that one tiny light bulb that refused to work, that I was going to just let it go. The year has come and gone. I did what I could when I could. It’s as simple as that; I gave 2015 a very hearty try, and didn’t end up accomplishing everything I wanted to. But it’s okay! Thinking badly of myself and my choices doesn’t change the past or help me get anywhere new.

It’s been a hard lesson to swallow, but these days I’m trying to just be. I’m not pressuring myself to work on any projects, or even blogging (as I’m sure you’ve noticed). When I want to go to spin class, I go to spin class. When I want to come home and go straight to bed, I do that.

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Our Christmas twig, up and decorated at last!

There’s something absolutely delicious about not having that voice nagging at you constantly, wondering when you’ll stop doing X,Y, and Z and when you’ll start doing the things you’re “supposed to”. The voice isn’t easy to quiet, but when it’s at least muted I’m able to enjoy what I’m currently doing much more.

That being said, I believe wholeheartedly in the freshness of a new year. I’ve decided to theme 2016 as “Here’s to an Interesting Life”, and I’m kicking it off with a bang, starting with a trip to Denmark and Germany in January. After some quality time at home with the folks, I’m looking forward to plotting anew for the year. By then, I hope that naggy voice in my head will have transformed into one of encouragement and inspiration.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday season! See you in January 🙂

 

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Half-Assing All the Way

Last week at work, I had a revelation of sorts. That afternoon, we had just wrapped up feeding forty or so people Indian food and were in the process of cleaning it all up. In a nutshell, it’s a super sloppy job to do. I kept bouncing back between wrapping up leftovers, wiping down the table, organizing the dishwasher, etc. Eventually I noticed how frustrated I was getting with my lack of progress. The place had remained messy, despite my efforts.

That’s when the eureka moment hit.

I have never before known Indian food to be a stand in for my life, but there it was. In cleaning as in life, I had been putting myself into too many tasks and not been seeing results. I had been half-assing everything from my DIY projects to my coupon cutting to my writing and fitness goals. The intentions were there, but my many and varied plans had fallen by the wayside.

My word for 2015 was ‘follow-through’, as I’ve been known to flit from idea to idea without ever finishing it. My closet at home is full of dead craft projects and unfinished story ideas; when the going got tough, I quit and started something new.

Thanks to my goal setting workbook that I completed last month, I have narrowed down my official goal “categories” to writing, getting in shape, being financially responsible, expanding my resume, and traveling. Having this list taped to the inside of my planner has been instrumental in keeping my ambitions focused, but now is the time to revisit them and re-plan for them afresh.

Words to live by!

Words to live by!

It can be overwhelming to take on such a task – especially if you are revisiting your goals only because you were getting overwhelmed by them in the first place. I recommend that you:

1) Take a deep breath, grab a refreshment (may I suggest a giant cup of caffeine) and find a quiet place to settle in for a while.

2) If you haven’t already, I recommend you figure out your top five goals like I did using this workbook. Once you have them, take the goals and break them into smaller chunks by category.

3) One by one, focus on each chunk and come up with a plan to see it actualize into something that’s achievable. Under my category of “getting in shape”, I wrote that I wanted to be able to run two miles without stopping. To achieve this, I’ve created a workout calendar that’s devoted solely to my exercise routines.

4) Implement those plans, but one at a time! Instead of trying to run two miles and learn how to dead squat, I’m going to focus on them one at a time, at least until I feel comfortable enough to move on or add more to my goal.

This slower pace can seem incredibly frustrating. After all, we live in a world where the McDonald’s drive thru can have a delicious McFlurry awaiting you in a second’s notice (I don’t recommend those if your goals include fitness…or living past 25). We – myself included – want things and we want them now!

But taking it one goal at a time can ensure a success that half-assing everything can never do for you. The wisdom you can find in Indian food!

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It’s All About Them Goals

OctMono

Let’s face it. I’m a dreamer and not a do-er by nature. Remember my Pinterest boards? I’m loath to admit that they’re filling up again with all of my projects-to-be. Every day I get on a roll scouring the Internet for new and exciting crafts and recipes, only to be brought back into reality by one of my biggest faults: I’m terrible with follow-through. Take, for example, that basket-weaving kit a former employer gave me over the summer. Where is it now? Half-completed in a plastic bag on the floor in my room. Not much good it’s doing there.

If there’s one thing I’ve gotten right, it’s that I’ve limited myself to just one project at a time. Thus, if I don’t finish the basket or outright hand it off to someone else (any takers?), I am not allowed to move on. My room at home in NH is the place where half-knitted scarves and failed art projects go to die.

Now the holidays are creeping up, and I’m slowly going out of my mind. I want this to be a crafty Christmas, but my mind is seriously jumbled right now. Between Christmas gifts, party planning, travel arrangements, work, writing projects, I’m starting to feel a little overwhelmed.

My best solution when I’m overwhelmed? Dig into some Rocky Road ice cream. THEN, I like to get down and set some goals.

Here are the steps to achieving your goals (no joke, I have these written down in my daily planner):

  1. Acknowledge the purpose. Why are you setting this goal, what is it for?
  2. Develop your vision into a solid goal – it needs to be specific and measurable. A good rule of thumb is to write down your goal as though it has already been completed.
  3. Make a plan to reach your goal. You should be specific. If you’re approaching your goal one step at a time, arrange these steps in a logical order, and list the actions you’ll need to take with each. Then, get started!
  4. Work your plan. Spend at least 15 minutes every day to review your goals and steps, inspire yourself, and renew your dedication.
  5. Lastly, it can be helpful to visualize your goal. A photo collage is a great example!

Okay. My first step was to write down every goal I could think of that I wanted to achieve between November and January. It was a fairly long list, but it helped me to divide everything into different categories, like ‘work’ and ‘Christmas’.

Can you tell I love planning?

Can you tell I love planning?

For instance, I want to have all of my Christmas gifts bought early this year. If I get them out of the way earlier on, it’ll be less for me to stress about as the holidays get closer. To make it more specific, I’ll make my goal to have everything bought by Cyber Monday (the Monday after Thanksgiving). Here’s my plan:

  1. Brainstorm a list of everyone who’ll be getting gifts & cards this year.
  2. Brainstorm ideas for gifts for those listed.
  3. Budget a set amount per person.
  4. Shop!

As a final step, I’m adding due dates for each of these steps to my calendar. I may be a procrastinator, but the only deadlines I’ll be pushing this year are my own.

Happy goal setting!

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