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Half-Year Resolutions

So, this past month has been absolutely crazy and I am so happy to be able to say that in an hour, June will be OVER!!! While I had an absolute blast with every single event I had going on in June, it was just way too much. I accomplished everything on my to-do lists, however, I left out time for me and boy am I feeling it now.

With that being said, I have decided to make some half-year resolutions to start on tomorrow since July 1st starts the second half of the year. Why should we only make goals in January? So, I am going to start my first annual “Half-Year Resolutions”.

In preparing my resolutions to carry me through the second half of 2012, I did quite a bit of brainstorming and journaling (Slacker radio set to hits of the 90s most definitely helped!).

I started with a list of things that were important to me. I noticed that a lot of the things on my most important list were being pushed to my back burner recently. If they are so important to me, then why do I keep pushing them back? Some of the things I listed were having a clean and organized house. I know, I know, WHAT?!? Lol. I am just in a better mood and much more relaxed when my house is clean and organized and lately, it has been neither. It’s been driving me absolutely bonkers. So, even if I’m dead-tired, its worth it in the long-run to straighten up if it means waking up to a clean and organized house Also, I like taking time in the morning to read some of my fashion magazines while drinking my tea. Getting up 10 minutes earlier is totally worth me getting some of that happy time. And of course I want to spend more time with my kids and hubbie.

I also listed some of the hobbies I enjoy, such as gardening and cooking. I realized that this past month, I’ve not done much of either. Definitely going to schedule time in the calendar for those.

Being the list maker that I am, even if I only cross off one item a week on my list, that’s one step forward towards my goal of being a centered and productive human being.

Here’s to the end of June and the promise that July is holding for me!

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The Joy of New Years Resolutions. (That’s right! I said JOY!!!)

Well, it’s that time of year for me again…New Years Resolutions.  I am one of the few people who look forward to this time of year.  I love new beginnings.  I love fresh starts.  I love clean slates.  My New Years Resolutions (NYR) give me the opportunity to shape and mold my life anyway I choose.

It’s true that the idea of NYR makes people curl into a ball and whimper.  Usually their resolutions entail things like “losing 150 pounds by summer”, “get my $2,000,000 credit card debt paid off by March” and “get the man of my dreams and marry him by Valentine’s Day”.  Granted I’m exaggerating those, but they do cut close to home for many people out there.  And it’s no wonder that NYR have the reputation of always failing.  Those types of resolutions are simply setting you up to fail.  I think that is the main reason why people simply don’t do them anymore.

I know my good friend was one of those people.  She had good intentions about her resolutions, but (in my opinion) went about it all wrong.  She visited me on a New Years Day a few years ago completely defeated.  She knew she had things she wanted to improve about her life, but she did not have any ideas as to how to make them happen.  She felt alone and hopeless.  Being it was New Years, I was working on my own resolutions and decided to share with her what I do every year.

I told her that I have NEVER had a NYR fail me.  EVER!  I have succeeded in every single one of them since I’ve been using this method.  And I promised her that if she followed it, she would succeed as well.

Curious as to what it is?  🙂  Let me first disclose that I am an extremely organized person.  I love lists.  I love the pleasure of crossing things off of my lists that are completed.  I love being able to look back on my lists and see all of the things I have crossed off, to see how far I’ve come.  If you don’t like lists, I don’t know if this will work for you, but I’ve found that most women are list makers.

Now, I first started this method quite a few years back after I attended a dream seminar by Marcia Wieder.  Listening to her speak really got me thinking about my dreams and passions in life.  Reading her book, “Making Your Dreams Come True” really helped as well and was the starting point for my methods.  Over the years, I’ve streamlined her processes and made them more accessible to others as well as more approachable for the everyday woman who has a house to take care of, a job to deal with and a family to keep happy.

So, here are the methods of my madness that I do EVERY year…

First, I get a beautiful journal.  I’m a sucker for gorgeous paper, but truth be told, you can do this on the back of your junk mail.  Write down the areas of your life that you want to improve.  Be general though!  Now is not the time to be specific or quantitative.

For example, instead of saying “I want to lose 50 pounds this year”, say “I want to be physically healthier.”  Past resolutions I’ve made have been to be more mentally balanced (Don’t laugh!  It’s true!), to have a career that inspires me and to have a home that I am proud of.  The idea is to make it something general, not specific.  Make it a dream, so-to-speak, rather than a goal.  Write it down even if it seems lofty and completely off the wall!  One of mine this year is to own a Chanel handbag.  No one is going to see this (unless you show it to them).  In fact, my friend was the first and ONLY person to ever see my NYR.  I haven’t even shown my own husband my NYR journals, past or present!  Make it your safe zone for your wildest and truest dreams.

Next, get a notebook or paper with a divider for each one of your NYR/dreams.  Write the resolution on the top of the first page and underneath it write “Master To-Do List”.  Go to the next page and start writing down anything and everything that can help you towards your resolution, even the most minute things count here.  In fact, the more minute, the better.

For example, if your NYR was “to be physically healthier”, items you might write down could include:

  • Find an exercise that I enjoy
  • Find vegetables that I enjoy
  • Find fruits that I enjoy
  • Find snacks that I like and that are healthy
  • Find a support team to help motivate me
  • Find a workout outfit that makes me feel slammin’ (so I want to work out more)
  • Find nearby farmers markets to get fresh produce

Don’t worry if your list isn’t very long yet.  You will be adding to it throughout the year.  And it’s ok if you can’t think of anything to write.  If you can’t, then write “Google search ways to…insert your resolution here”.

Once you’ve brainstormed a bit, now scan through your list.  You will most likely see definitive and succinct things that you can do to achieve or rather work towards your resolution.  Write those things down on the first page under “Master To-Do List”.

Make this list your “specifics” list.  Choose things that have a definitive end.  This is your “to-do” list for that particular resolution.  You want to be able to complete an item and cross it off.  Any items that are not definitive and specific, think of ways that you can rewrite them to be specific.

Congratulations!  You now have a list of things you can do to help work towards that particular NYR.  Repeat those steps for every single one of your resolutions.  How many of them you choose to have is entirely up to you.  You can have just one, six, heck, this year I think I have about 10, but this is feeling like an entirely ambitious year for me.  🙂

Once all of your resolutions are in your journal, you now have a very powerful tool in your hands to help improve your life and the best part about it is YOU NOW CAN NOT FAIL AT YOUR NYR!!!

The first step towards any NYR is to have a game-plan.  And you just completed that!  Now it’s up to you how far you want to go with your resolutions.  Look at your “Master To-Do List” and pick something on one of those lists to do.  If you’re like most people, including myself, you’ll choose the easiest things on the list and that’s ok.  In fact, that’s the best.

Once you complete something on the list, enjoy the pleasure of crossing it off.   You are now even closer to accomplishing your NYR.  In our example, with each of the items that you cross off, you are physically healthier.  It may only be in tiny increments, but you are in fact successfully one step ahead of where you were.  Baby steps!

You might find that once you do a task, it lends itself to a lot more ideas of things you can do to work towards your goals and that’s the idea!  Write these new items down on your “Master To-Do List” and keep plugging away.  This is especially true if “Google search” was on your to-do list.

In our example, if you looked up local farmers markets, you now have a list of places you can visit.  Put on your list “visit place A”, “visit place B”, etc. and even add “after visiting all of the farmers markets, decide which one is my favorite”.

Your “Master To-Do List” should be a never ending list of things you can do to constantly improve yourself as you work towards your resolution (to be physically healthier).

In fact, whenever you have a great idea for one of your NYR (regardless of how outlandish others might think it to be), instead of talking yourself out of your great idea, write it down in the appropriate resolution section and add those steps to your to-do list for that resolution.  Make them baby steps.  Enough baby steps can accomplish any outlandish idea.  🙂

Whenever you are bored and don’t know what to do, pick something, anything on your to-do lists and DO IT!  Each item you cross off as completed means that you succeeded even more at your goals.  It can even get you motivated by thinking of even more things that you can add to your to-do lists.  Let these resolutions and lists build excitement and hope!  You can not fail.  As long as you cross off one item on each list, you succeeded in moving forward towards your resolutions.

Whenever you are down-in-the-dumps, re-read your NYR journal, paying special attention to all of the things you’ve crossed off your list already.  You’ll find that you’ll feel better once you’ve seen how far you’ve come already.  Or you’ll find one easy thing on your list to do which will help you back on that proverbial wagon.

At the end of the year, review and reflect on your NYR journal.  How far did you come this year?  Are you happy and content with where you are on that particular goal?  Or would you like to improve it even more?  If you are content, then as the Beatles say, “Let It Be”.  If you would like to improve it even more, then put that resolution back into the next year’s journal and continue your to-do list.  Improving yourself is never over.  The things you want to improve about yourself just change.

Using my methods, I helped my friend work through one of the resolutions that she was constantly struggling with and we worked out a short to-do list for her.  A list of things that were baby steps, super easy to do, but when you added them all together made a HUGE impact in her life.  Granted, she’s had her ups and downs since our discussion, but she now knows what she needs to do to improve any area of her life.  She doesn’t feel as lost or helpless anymore concerning that resolution.  She has hope and anyone who has hope can succeed at anything.

So, here’s to your New Years Resolutions!  May you succeed wildly in all of them!  Best of luck!  🙂

(The FABULOUS photo was courtesy of the AMAZING Natalie A. Stevens Photography.  Please “like” her Facebook page!)

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