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Month: December 2017

Goodbye 2017, Hello 2018

Ah, another year is coming to a close.  It’s out with the old and in with the new, that weird old man is retiring and baby new year is bouncing onto the scene.  Side note: how does that baby age so much in one year?   Okay, back on track.  This is my last post for 2017 and I thought I’d talk about what most people are talking about at this time of year – goal setting.

Now, I use quite a few systems that I’ve learned over the past few years to plan out my goals.  I’ve gotten them from various webinars, books, courses, old planners, and online blog searching.   I have no idea who to attribute most of what I’m going to talk about to specifically because at this point it’s a hodgepodge of styles with my own added flair!

I like to start with a general brain dump of things I would like to get done, accomplish, get better at, finish, etc.  That list usually looks like a hot mess, but from there I’ll separate the do-able from the wishes, the first things first to maybe if I have time, and then I make a quarterly plan.  This year was easy, actually, because I know I want to launch my newsletter (with that freebie I keep hinting about) in February and my debut novel will be self-published on Amazon (more about that in 2018) in either March or April so my Quarter One goals were set.  I have a few things bulleted out for Q2, including writing the 1st draft of book #2 and researching blog guest posting, and then I just have a list called: ????  This is a maybe/future list that includes starting a YouTube channel, planning our August family vacation (we know we’d like to go somewhere this summer, but we’re not sure where we’re going this year yet so, for now, it’s on the ???? List), and when to publish/launch Book #2 – only because I have no clue how fast I’ll be able to write and edit since this current novel has taken me years!

I also added some health & wellness goals to my list, music and hobby goals (I want to start singing again and I think I’m getting a hand-me-down acoustic guitar and would like to learn that as well), and some overall family goals (like taking my little one to more museums, doing more things around Queens, and getting the rest of the apartment organized and finished).  My year is shaping up!  It’s all very exciting, shiny, and new.

I am definitely getting excited, especially after I did one final step of my yearly planning…the tarot cards!  I bought Biddy Tarot’s 2018 Planner this year but not to use as a plan-your-day type calendar (I’m still using my Erin Condren bullet journal hybrid), but to help with tarot study – it has monthly spreads, weekly cards, new moon and full moon intentions, quarterly reviews, and some fun journaling prompts along the way.  I did the big New Year’s Eve spread and that was nice, but then I went ahead and also did the Q1 Manifestation Spread (where you talk about your biggest goal for the quarter – mine was launching The Art of Lying) and baby, hold on to your socks – because this was a doozy of a spread.

You basically go through questions about where you are right now with your goal, what weaknesses and strengths you have surrounding the goal, what you need to let go of, what action steps you need to take, and what…overall…the next three months might look like.  These cards were totally speaking to me, they were extremely positive and point to the fact that I am on the right track to finishing Q1 strong!

I won’t bore you with the nitty-gritty details, but I will share with you what I wrote in the summation box of the planner:  This spread has shown me that I need to continue the New Year with hard work and expert planning.  I need to let the creative side celebrate her wins and much earned success, while my business side makes decisions based on knowledge, research, and gut intuition.  I need to stay true to myself, be authentic and human in my marketing and promotions, stay down to earth, but don’t neglect my health in striving for perfection!  If I do these things, keep up my confidence and courage, I should achieve my goal!!!

Now, I’ve done quite a bit of 2018 planning – last week’s Word of the Year and this week’s goal planning, but I’m not done yet.  The writing mastermind I am a part of is having a big Planning Party soon and my mentor will be sharing a workbook PDF that will have questions, prompts, and other goodies for us – now I doubt any of that will have me changing my plans much, but it might help solidify things for me – things I’m worried about, things I’m trying not to freak myself out about (like all the decisions that business side of me actually needs to make soon), and it might just help me narrow down my daily tasks and to-do’s better.  And, I love a good planning party.

So…what have you been planning for the new year?  Any goals you’re just itching to get started with?  Do you do the whole goal setting thing or resolutions?  I personally think both can work as long as you have a plan in place and not just a wish…like I wish I was 25 pounds lighter, but actually, say – I will work out three times a week, cut down to carbs at one meal per day, and meditate daily to help alleviate stress – now that would be a plan!  Also, that sounds very similar to my plan for health and wellness.  HA  So, share!  I’d love to hear what you’re working on next year and where we can maybe each other stay on track.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year,  and a Lovely 2018 to you and yours!!!

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One Word to Rule Them All

I’ve spoken about this before, but you know that this past year has been all about inner change for me.  I’ve worked on my mindset by fixing beliefs I had about myself and my body.  I’ve worked on things with my therapist and nutritionist through journaling, talking, and other exercises to help me deal with issues I had surrounding food, exercise, and self-hatred.  I’ve declared myself a WRITER to the world and to myself by joining groups, continuing work on my book, sending it to an actual editor, and making real plans to self-publish in the new year.  And through this whole journey, I have used one overall word and two supporting words to guide me.  I used Susannah Conway’s method for finding my Word of the Year in December of 2016 and decided upon the trifecta of Nourish, Patience, and Compassion.

Nourish came into play with everything from making time to write, to eating nourishing foods, to giving myself time to rest and practice self-care.  Patience reminded me to be patient not only with others (especially my six-year-old son) but also myself as the process to change was going to be very long.  Compassion reminded me to love myself as a best friend and to give love and acceptance to those around me.  I journaled and planned and thought about what those words would mean, I talked about them during sessions with both my nutritionist and my therapist, I thought about them as I worked on my book and my blog, and I thought about them as I went through my daily life.  They became a part of my year-long journey and as the year comes to a close, I’m kinda sad to see them go.

The thing is, I redid the whole process again this week and came up with my words for 2018.  While the words I chose for 2017 were very inward and introspective, the words that came up for 2018 are all outward words – big and loud and scary words.  Exciting and daring and a little Holy Crap…but I know they are the perfect three words to support me as I step more into the role of Professional Self-Published Writer, as I become a real Authorpreneur, and as I make decisions about my business and my career.   Are you ready?  The two supporting words this year are Open and Magic and my big overall word is Courage.

I’m hoping to carry these words into all aspects of my life from my relationships, my food and health issues, my therapy sessions, my writing, my self-publishing career, and the way I interact with others and myself in general.   I am hoping for big, scary, amazing things to happen next year and with the support of these words I know I can handle anything and everything life has to throw at me.

So, do you choose a word (or words) to help you through your year?  Do you choose a mantra or motto?  Do you make a vision board (I’m planning on doing this again soon) and create a visual reminder of your yearly goals, hopes, dreams, and plans?  If you do, I would really love to know what word or motto you chose and why, what helped you make the decision, and what you’re planning to do to remind yourself of the word throughout the year.  I plan on having the courage pictures and quotes from this post on my cork board over my desk, and I plan on asking myself the following three questions every day. What can I do today that would be courageous?  What can I do today to be more open?  What can I do today that would help bring some magic to my life?

As the year comes to a close, give yourself time and space to reflect and think back on how much you’ve changed over the last year – then give yourself time to dream and plan and bring some hope as we usher in 2018 and a chance for even more growth and learning.  Isn’t that an amazing thing?  We always have more to learn, more to be, and more to give.

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The Care and Feeding of a Writer

As you might remember from this post I am working on my health in various forms – mental health with my therapist and journaling and self-care techniques; physical health with exercise and eating more nutritious foods; and my spiritual health with tarot, meditation, and quiet contemplative time during the day.  Now I am not one to love the kitchen, in fact, I have been quoted numerous times as saying, “I hate to cook!” I get very anxious around non-cooked food – I’ve had panic attacks in grocery stores and in the kitchen, but when one is trying to become healthier and lose some weight while maintaining a positive attitude about their body and self, well cooking becomes necessary.

My nutritionist and I started with a few basics – more protein and more veggies in my diet.  To accomplish this I’ve been adding soups to my lunches and making egg and veggie scrambles for breakfast for the past few weeks.  For the first two or three days of cooking veggies in with my eggs, I was near panic, although they tasted good, they didn’t really look good or they stuck to the pan or I just felt so tight by the time I sat down to eat that I was near tears.  But I talked things over with my husband (who does love to cook) and kept trying things.  For starters, I changed skillets.  We have a few and I was using an older one who’s coating isn’t the best so I grabbed the one my parents bought us a few years ago and that solved the sticking problem.  Next, I added butter and sautéed the veggies first, then I added a tiny bit more butter and finally the eggs.  I’ve been doing this for a few days now and I’m getting pretty good at it.  They’re still not always attractive, but they taste damn good and are totally filling.

I usually add spinach and bell pepper, but I also like tomatoes, ham, and lots of cheese!  Next, I’m planning on making my own bone broth soup with chicken bones and my crock pot.  Fingers crossed, please.  For now, I’ve been eating canned soups with lunch or as a pre-lunch snack, then having my normal cut up veggies with my protein of chose at lunch.  So…extra protein and veggies CHECK.  If you have any good recipes for eggs or soups, link below because I’m going to need them.

The other thing my nutritionist wanted me to do was to drink more water so I re-downloaded an old app I used a while ago called Plant Nanny where you plant these cute cartoon-y plants and every time you drink water, you water the plant.  They go through a few changes per plant and then you can add them to your garden and you get to plant a new one.  Cute idea, but after awhile I get tired of the concept, but it is helping me drink more water and be more mindful of how much I drink during the day so that’s a bonus.  I’ve also seen a few non-cutesy water-minder type apps that I might like to try as well.  So, more water CHECK.

For self-care lately, I’ve been making sure to use lotion.  I have pretty dry skin, but in the winter it’s horrible.  I use lotion after showers, but I’ve also been carrying around hand lotion and trying to give my feet some extra attention lately too.  I also bought a Burt’s Bees cuticle cream that I’ve been using since I tend to bite my nails (I know, it’s totally disgusting) and this kind of helps me curtail that somewhat.  I’ve also been getting back into yoga and I’m finding more time for my tarot cards.  Self-care CHECK.

The last thing I’ve been doing lately, and want to do a whole lot more of in 2018 is my singing.  I was a theatre major with a voice minor and moved to New York to do the whole Broadway thing many moons ago.  I also took Cabaret classes and performed many showcase shows and my own solo show back in 2007.  Since having my son, and switching my focus to motherhood and writing I haven’t been singing as much. I sing along to the radio, sure, but nothing consistent and my voice shows it.  I had built up this beautifully rich sounding instrument and that’s well, pretty much gone.  I think it will come back quickly with daily practice and work, at least I’m hoping that’s the case.  I have all of my old voice lessons recorded on my computer so I’m going to start with those and then see where I’m at come summer time – I might try to get back into performing next year.  So, music CHECK.

So, what are you guys doing to take care of yourselves this month?  Do you use apps to help you drink water? Or remember any other habits?  Do you make time for self-care and hobbies?  It’s hard this time of the year, but I encourage you to try at least 15 minutes a day where you can say, “World, I’m stopping to show myself some love!” it will do wonders for your mental, physical, and spiritual health I promise.

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