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2017 Goals: A progress report, II.

We’re halfway through the year – how are your goals shaping up?

It’s June, and that means we’re halfway through 2017 ALREADY! When I set my goals for the year I was thinking about how so many people simply set goals on New Year’s Eve and basically never revisit them, and before they know it, the year has passed.

I don’t want that to be me this year. So, I’m going to hold myself accountable and do some progress reports on the blog. I already think this miiiiight be a little embarrassing, but maybe it will light a fire under my booty to get things moving.

I wrote a list of goals at the end of 2016, which I published here, and today I’m going to revisit this same list and tell you if I’ve made any progress on it.

Here goes:

GOAL: Start With Kindness. As you can tell by the name of this blog, I’ve spend a chunk of my life feeling sour about things that have happened to me, and choices I’ve made. But in general, I wouldn’t classify myself as bitter – I’m actually pretty kind and very giving.

In the last year, I’ve thought a lot about a kindness campaign started by my favorite radio show hosts, Johnjay & Rich. Their campaign, #LoveUp, encourages everyone to do something kind for someone else – whether big or small, and whether they need it or not. I’ve already started my own #LoveUp acts of kindness, and they’ll definitely be making appearances in 2017. 

PROGRESS: The last time I wrote this progress report, I hadn’t really done much for this goal. But this time, I’m happy to report I have. Not only have I tried to remain calm in frustrating situations, but I also ran into a fellow dancer who was short a few cents while trying to buy a protein bar. I happily put a dollar on the counter for him.

GOAL: Be a Practicing Writer. In my previous job, much of my day was spent writing. Whether or not it was stuff I actually wanted to write was not the issue, but I wrote a ton during those years. I blogged, I wrote freelance articles, I wrote books, poetry… and I really haven’t immersed myself in my craft since.

This year, I used birthday money to buy books on screenwriting, and I volunteered nearly 20 hours of my time toward the Austin Screenwriting Festival, listened to many podcasts on the craft, and have researched courses to take to learn on it – but haven’t actually DUG in there and started typing! So, I’ve got to do it – whether or not its work anyone sees, its time.

PROGRESS: I’ve totally sucked on this for ALL of 2017, and I’ll be honest, I’ve barely been able to keep up with this blog. I’m sorry!

GOAL: Just Go For It. I spend a lot of time analyzing situations and decisions, trying to figure out if I should do it or how or when or why, and frankly, it’s exhausting!

When I moved to Austin in 2015, I had basically no money, was living in an extended-stay hotel, and I spent my evenings going on “adventures” – where I’d basically just drive to a place that sounded cool and check it out, so at least I’d learn my way around the city and pick places I wanted to visit later. It was simple, fun, and it really helped shaped the way I look at the city. I’m definitely aiming for more adventures in Austin, and elsewhere, in 2017.

PROGRESS: I’m kicking this one’s ass. I’ve already booked my second vacation of the year, and I’ve even “just gone for it” in terms of medical tests that I 100% would have backed out on before. On my vacation to Vegas, I totally just went for it when my friend suggested a rollercoaster ride. It was worth it, but if I had thought about it any longer, I would have talked myself out of it.

GOAL: Act, Believe, & Receive. I’ve spent the last several years really trying to focus on myself. After years of abuse from various places, I lost myself and I was letting other people create my course. It took therapy, time, and lots of self-reflection for me to even begin to build myself up and allow me to just be me, and I’m finally starting to feel like myself again.

In these last few weeks of 2016, I’ve felt it, and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. So, in 2017, I’m going to act more confident, believe in myself, and receive the treatment that I deserve.

PROGRESS: This is slowly coming, although if you have ideas or tips on how to achieve this goal, I’m all for it.

GOAL: Be Intentional. As of yesterday, I started listening to “The Minimalists” podcast, and although I’m just four episodes in, I am hooked and craving for more learning on this lifestyle choice. The Minimalists are particularly two men who left corporate America (and six-figure salaries) to live simply in terms of having less things, but to also live with intention and do everything on purpose – down to drinking one perfect cup of well-made coffee instead of just guzzling another K-cup.

PROGRESS: I’m 90% of the way through cleaning my closet, and I have lots of things to giveaway. However, I have replaced many of the items to give away. I wanted to look forward to getting dressed each morning before work. Now, I am excited to see the clothes in my closet and make a choice on what to wear, based on my mood.

GOAL: Live High. Initially, I was thinking of a fantastically mellow Jason Mraz song titled as such, but then I thought of that moment at the Democratic Convention this year when Michelle Obama talked about her approach to bullies: “When they go low, we go high.” Essentially, I want to give myself permission to do things just for me. I do a pretty good job already of having no shame for watching hours of TV each week (hell, each night), but I want to do a better job of encorporating happy and healthy habits into my life, and not apologizing for them.

PROGRESS: Eh, this one still needs work. However, I have been trying to make time for me in the form of a weekly soak in the tub, making time for a nice facial mask several times a week, and had a nice manicure and pedicure about a month ago. It felt wonderful!

GOAL: Choose (& Plan for) Your Destiny! This started as kind of a joke between me, and well, myself, because someone told me earlier this year: “Everything that happens to you is because you let it. You choose your destiny.” In the way it was delivered to me, it seemed more of a way to avoid blame, but the more I thought about it, the more I felt it in all areas of my life.

Spent my Saturday working? Well that was obviously the destiny that I chose. No more being a victim; no more going along for the ride. We choose our destinies! 

PROGRESS: Yes – I’m still living by this motto, but it’s a constant effort, and I’m sure I’ll be reminding myself of this rule a time or two.

…So, it’s safe to say I’ve got my work cut out for me, but I’m also doing okay. What are your goals for 2017 and how are they coming along? It’s certainly not too late to jump on them and cross some big items off your to-do list before the year is over!

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Monday motivation: ‘Charlie Mike’ & glittery farts.

I'm freeeeeee!

I’m freeeeeee!

“I feel like a majority of my life is me just pretending like I don’t hate everything.” Sad, but true, I told my friend about a month ago.

I’m in a constant search of happiness, and I’ll be searching until I find it. As I mentioned before, I’m still obsessed with listening to podcasts and many of the ones I like are motivational; whether that be blatant or underlying.

I was catching up on The Jillian Michaels’ Show a few weeks ago during a road trip and she was talking about how she’s a control freak, and if something goes wrong that’s out of her control, she’s still going to feel like people are blaming her. She also has issues moving on (sounds familiar…).

She said she started working with a former Navy Seal, and he gets through these types of challenges by “Charlie Mike”. Huh? Charlie Mike. Complete the Mission. Do the best you can do with what you have in order to complete the mission.

You can listen to the entire episode here, but I think that phrase alone is pretty motivational.

It’s sort of weird to talk about motivation, but it’s really the only way for me to get through each day. Some days I feel incredibly READY to just tackle whatever comes. I get this jolt of energy, whether it’s used to go to work and knock out a bunch of tasks, or staying up late to clean my house; those days feel good.

But I’ll tell you this: every Sunday from about 2pm on, I dread the upcoming work week. Like really bad. Then I stay up really late on Sunday to avoid Monday as much as possible. Then on Monday, I’m a slug, and I’ll admit; I sometimes put off starting big tasks because I just don’t feel like it.

I start the countdown to Friday on Monday. Every Thursday night, I think MAN, I’m soooo glad tomorrow is Friday! And Friday at 5:30, I bust out of that office like it’s on fire. And why? Over the weekend, I got to thinking about why I love the weekend so much.

After all, I’m an adult, I can do what I want during the week; it’s not like I’ve got my parents telling me I’ve got to go to bed early. But, I get it, the work day really takes it out of me, and I usually go to dance until at least 8pm, so the weekdays are pretty much planned for me.

As soon as Friday night hits, I can do WHATEVER I want for an entire two days. That could be a cool dinner, a shopping trip, or like this weekend, I did lots of gardening (planted tomatoes and basil), went to a hockey game, and saw a movie. It was fantastic! If I want to, I can do nothing, I can lay in bed and watch homemade Daria marathons and roll around in my sweatpants. Its freedom.

Which brings me to another podcast I listened to last week, “Monocycle” by Leandra Medine at Manrepeller. The episode, “Saturday is a State of Mind“, and she talks a lot about the construct of time. She speaks the truth in that, on Thursdays, we’re so fueled by the IDEA of Saturday approaching, that we power through, and by Friday, “You’re so happy that you’re literally farting glitter.”

Is it the anticipation that we’re craving? Is there a way we can bottle that Saturday feeling and drink it when we’re feeling like shit on a Monday afternoon? Leandra talks about things we can do to help ease the woes of the week, including making Sunday fun instead of moping around, drinking extra delicious coffee on Monday or tackling the big things so the rest of the week is easy.

I don’t know if these things will necessarily work for me, but I’m down to take ideas. I currently take a pretty fun dance class on Monday nights, so that’s a start. But perhaps I should buy special coffee just for Mondays, or plan to always wear a bright color to kick off the week, or take myself to lunch.

One thing that’s inspired me for years is this video that came with a digital John Mayer album I bought many years ago. It was a short, acoustic album, and it featured this video of the making of the son, “In Repair” (which I love). The gist? He goes into the studio in the morning with no song; comes out that night having written the lyrics, song, and even recorded it. This motivates me like I cannot even understand:

I definitely don’t want to live my life just looking forward to two days a week. I want to look forward to every day; even if it’s anticipating something small, like a special dinner or a movie during the week. What about you? Do you do something special to make the weekdays a little more like a Saturday? I’d love to hear it; I need some cool ideas to make my entire week a fun one!