Prone to work: Motivation month

Motivation monthI’ve written before how I love all things goals/lists/motivation. I’m a sucker for New Year’s resolutions, to-do lists, motivational blog posts, etc. This morning, I was lamenting how many of my goals and ambitions weren’t anywhere near where I had hoped they would be by this time of year. Then I realized that the year isn’t yet over (obviously), and I can still work toward some solid next steps in many of the areas that need some attention.

If you’re anything like me, you’ve also got a few items on your original list of goals that may not be quite where you wanted for one reason or another. Personally, I had a bit of a disruption this year with a cross country move that shifted a few of my projects and put others on hold (read more about that here, here and here).

The good news is that we’ve still got a month to go! While we can’t create more hours in the day, we CAN be intentional about the time we have left. And the fact that the last month of the year is often one of the busiest is no excuse. Just think of how great it will feel to begin 2015 on a high note after finishing this year strong!

So, admitting that I CAN’T accomplish EVERYTHING I’d like to in the next month, here, in no particular order, are the things I’m hustling on:

  • Do something physical once a day. I ran this morning for the first time in WEEKS. The move and drastic weather changes got me out of sync, but I’m back on the horse after signing up for the half marathon in Nashville in April (any other hustlers running that one?). For me, it’s always more helpful to have something external to aim for and schedule around.
  • Do something professional once per day. I transitioned to a part-time, remote role once I moved to Denver from Florida in late September. I’ve been diligent about sending out job applications, updating my resume, and networking with professional contacts, and I want to continue making this job hunt a priority. Shameless plug: check out my profile and professional experience on LinkedIn if you know anyone who’s hiring 😉
  • Get the side project up and running. Before making the move this fall, I had an idea for a writing project that I wanted to tackle after I got here. While I’ve made some strides, it’s certainly not launched, but 31 days is more than enough time to stay diligent and see this idea through.

While these are the “big” things, there’s plenty more on my agenda that I’m looking forward to: freelance project deadlines, Christmas activities, travel, editing projects, Christmas shopping, etc., and I’m excited about the month ahead.

But what about you? Taking a look at your “original” list of goals, whether that’s for the year or the season or whatever, what are you going to focus on–realistically–for the next 31 days? How will you finish 2014 strong?

Comment below, and I’ll check in with you around the middle of the month to see how things are going!

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Prone to share: Getting to know you

There’s so much I still have to learn about this blogging thing (like staying consistent with content delivery, for starters!). Until my friend, Karin, tagged me last week, I didn’t even know what a “blog hop” was. I’m sure it has some noble origins, but for me, it was a much-needed prompt to write. It’s a pretty simple concept: answer four questions about your self. So here we go…

  1. What am I writing or working on? Funny you should ask! I’m actually working on one of the biggest “projects” of my life, but I’m not quite ready to spill the beans here on the interwebs. When I am, you can bet I’ll be writing about it…
  2. How does my work differ from others in this genre? See, this question is proof that the person who started this little Blog Hop charade likely meant it for real bloggers, as opposed to random people with questionable grammar and no particular genre. Truth is, I don’t even know what my genre is (though I do know that my color season is “autumn”). I like to think that I provide commentary on life, which is why you should all be thankful that I rarely blog at airports. Those places are like the Super Bowl of people-watching.
  3. Why do I write what I do? Hmmm. Methinks an honest answer of this question would require that I actually write on some minimal frequency. I write about events around me that make me think. I write about conversations. I write about things that have impacted me because I sometimes have a hunch they might impact others, as well.
  4. How does my writing process work? In this particular case, I didn’t have a choice. Though I have schedules and outlines and plans a’plenty, those rarely materialize like I intend them to. Sometimes I mull over a blog post for a few days, maybe even bouncing the idea off someone. Other times, the shame of inactivity drives me to the keyboard and I plow through a string of somewhat coherent thoughts. Then there are the rare occasions that I go all Hemingway, down a fifth of Jack Daniels and let the chips fall where they may! (Totally joking on this last one, mostly.)
In case you haven’t met her, you should hop on over to Karin’s blog. I met her through a mutual friend at work (who has YET to finish her Blog Hop assignment), and our collective adventures have included a day trip up to St. Augustine and a hangry stroll around Disney’s Boardwalk.
And for the next Blog Hop victims, let me introduce you to
Tag, you’re it.

Prone to wait: When we get impatient…

I know I’ve been on radio silence here on the blog for far too long. I clearly haven’t been keeping up with my goals. Quite honestly, I haven’t really felt like I’ve had anything to say.

My mom used to say “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all,” though I have a feeling she might have gotten that from the movie Bambi. Even still, I think the same sentiment can easily be applied to social media, and maybe even expanded: “If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything!”

I still question whether I have anything of value to say, but I do have some thoughts I’ve been processing this evening.

Sunset

I seem to have arrived at a season of waiting.

Waiting on my trip with my best friend from college.
Waiting on my birthday.
Waiting to celebrate Easter.
Waiting to see friends who stubbornly moved overseas last year.
Waiting on direction for a BIG thing to think BIG about.

Often, our immediate-gratification seeking culture considerings waiting to be a negative thing. But in this case, I disagree. In fact, I’m rather elated during this season of waiting, because I know the things I’m waiting on are freakin fantastic!

But we don’t always know that, do we? Sometimes, waiting can be hard. Especially when we don’t know the outcome of what we’re waiting on.

I believe our discomfort in waiting is less about impatience and more about uncertainty.

Sometimes we have to wait on hard things: the test results from the doctor’s office; the phone call after the job interview you had; lunch.

In those moments, my hardest struggle isn’t impatience, though it might masquerade as such. In those moments, my hardest struggle is trust: trusting that God knows what He’s doing; trusting that I really believe His words enough to put them into practice; trusting that He knows the outcome I can’t yet see.

The next time you’re feeling impatient in a season of waiting, check your certainty of the outcome. You may find you’re actually great at waiting! But terrible at trusting.

Prone to dream: Living the life I lied about

On the way back from the memorial service for my friend, Elise, I asked a friend what he and his wife were up to the following week. He jokingly invited me to a party he was having for another friend who I didn’t know. We laughed at the prospect of making up a story about my life and my past since the only people I would know at said party would be him and his wife.

party


My mind started racing with all the things I could dream up about this fantasy persona…

I would charm the crowds with stories of travel and visiting friends all over the world, because I crave those familiar connections.

I would tell all about the amazing volunteer and philanthropic opportunities I had been a part of because I want to be a person who practices selflessness and generosity.

I would have them salivating at all of the fantastic foods I had learned to cook, because cooking is an immensely creative outlet for someone who sits at a desk most of the day and it’s a valued act of hospitality to share food with others.

Then I thought to myself: “Am I living that life right now?”

If these are my passions, what am I doing to achieve them? Life is about the small daily choices, not the grandiose stories. The tall tales don’t happen unless our daily habits and actions point us in the direction we want to go.

If you could make up any story about yourself, what would it be? Is what you’re doing today–literally, in these next 24 hours–getting you one step closer to that?

Prone to plan: 2014 resolutions and goals

One might assume that a blog post about new year’s goals and resolutions should be written sometime around the new year. Then again, you know what they say about assuming…

In fact, I’ve had this post written a few different times, but I was never quite ready to press “Publish.” Part of the hesitation was “going public” with goals and the accountability that comes with it. But I got over that. Then I wrote about my friend, Elise, and didn’t really feel like writing anything for a little while. But I’ve pushed through that, as well.

Picking out goals for the year was somewhat tricker since I have have a whole list of things I want to accomplish before April 10. But I’ve resigned myself to the fact that my “30 list” won’t be completed in the next 4 months (like the story of the hike), and I’m OK with that.

Before I get to my actual resolutions/goals for 2014, I thought I would share some that I briefly considered but knew I wouldn’t keep. Thus, these didn’t make the cut for obvious reasons:

  • Eat less pasta. Clearly not going to happen.
  • Say something nice about Urban Meyer. I’m fairly certain this one isn’t even possible.
  • Stay current on my ironing–one of the few chores I absolutely loathe. Sadly, I knew this one was bound to fail.
  • Maybe possibly consider eating at Chick-fli-a slightly fewer times each month. With a Christmas stocking sporting a few gift cards, this one was also out of the running. Plus, eating there feels like tithing–they do the Lord’s work.

So here are the resolutions and goal’s I’ve settled on for 2014:

  • Faith: Read the Bible each day, preferably before skimming social media in the morning. Recently, I’ve been convicted about how much time I spend mindlessly reading about my friend’s cousin’s kid’s teacher’s latest class activity and how little time I spend in the Word. So I’m hoping to change that, even with a few minutes of reading a chapter in the morning. Then once that’s done, I don’t have to feel so guilty about finding Pinterest recipies for new desserts.
    • Fitness: Exercise at least three times a week. Getting presents for Christmas is great; getting fat is not. I’ve gotten into a fairly consistent schedule with this over the last few years. It’s normally easier for me to stick with something if I’m training for a race (like this past fall), so without anything on the calendar for the first part of 2014, I’m hoping that making this a resolution will keep me accountable and on track.
    • Focus: Write a blog post twice a week. I honestly hope to keep this one, but I’m not making any promises. It’s a goal, and I’ve declared it here in hopes of my other blogging friends (here, here, and here) keeping me accountable. But this is the one that seems to fall by the wayside when things get “busy.” But if you can’t count on me for two pithy posts a week, I’m not sure that you can count on me for anything.
    • Furnish: Complete one house project per month. I’ve got a house plan a’brewin, but that likely won’t come to fruition until 2015. Between now and then, I want to prioritize some time each month to work on a home project (like this, this, or this): something that will be fun and/or functional. Because let’s be honest, the joys of homeownership aren’t all painting walls and making curtains (though my friend, Mariah, just helped me make some great ones). Someone’s got to fix the sink drain and get the dryer serviced. If I can stay consistent with this (and build up some of my handyman skillz along the way), that will make the future idea that much easier.
    • Finances: Save for goal #1 by June 30; save for goal #2 December 31. I read and learned a while back that when coming up with things like money saving goals, it’s better to break them up into smaller chunks so you can see early wins. I’m fairly good at putting some cash away every month, but this year, I want to be deliberate in prioritizing this in the budget. Like I mentioned above, I’ve got some long term plans that I want to prepare for now, and this is the year to make that happen.
    • Word for the year: Each year, my pastor challenges us to pray about a word that will serve as a “guide” of sorts throughout the year. Last year, I settled on (post). This year, my word is…revealed in a future blog post. Sorry–I’ve got to have something for you to come back for!

2014 Resolutions
At this point, 20 days into the new year, I’d give myself a B- on the goals above. I’ve been doing OK, but not great, and in keeping with the grade school motif, there’s always room for improvement. But I’m excited about the prospects to stick to these plans.

How about you? Have you made any goals or resolutions for the year? If so, how are you doing on them now? If you don’t make any commitments at the beginning of each year, why not?