#Achieve2017 : March

At the risk of sounding like every other blogger on the Internet, I can’t believe it’s already nearly March!

Okay, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s look at how February went. For my February challenge, I focused on relationships. I had a list of 28 items, and I completed 14 of those. That would be a solid C for my February grade.

Womp, womp.

I had a list of excuses for why I only did half of the tasks, but it really boils down to I didn’t make finishing the tasks a priority. So, I’m determined to do better in March! Ready to see the March challenge?

In March, I’m going to complete the 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success Course!

march-achieve

For the 99.9% of you out there asking what that is, allow me to explain. Several months ago (uh, maybe even last year…before Charlotte was born), I purchased the 30 Days… course that was created by Gina Horkey. She is a mother of two who was able to launch her successful freelance writing business while she and her husband both had full-time jobs. She had a sale on her course, so I bought it, hoping that it would launch my freelance writing career and allow me to be a work from home mom.

I didn’t make finishing the course a priority (sensing a theme with me yet?), and it has just languished in my inbox, waiting for my motivation and prioritization. Now is the time for me to dive in!

Okay, that’s great for me, but how about a March challenge for everyone else? I’m glad you asked! Your goal is to do something daily in March to help you gain skills and knowledge in your desired career. If you’re already working in your dream profession, then see what types of professional development opportunities are available or take a risk and develop some materials of your own. Let me know what tasks you’re going to do!

If you’re interested in getting a sample of Gina’s work, she has a free 5 lesson email course that you can sign up for here.

I’ll be updating my course progress on my freelance writing Facebook page (shameless plug), so make sure you’re following me there! Let’s make March a great month for our careers!

*Amber note – this post contains affiliate links, which means if you purchase the freelance writing course, I’ll earn a small commission which I’ll use towards planner supplies…I mean, responsible, adult things.

 

#Achieve2017 : February

Argh! I meant to have this post up last Sunday, but life happened, including a death in my husband’s family, so I’m behind on everything (except for Wednesday’s Currently post since it’s pretty short and sweet).

Before I talk about February’s challenge, let’s recap January’s challenge, which was no restaurants or coffee shops. So, did I make it? Sadly, the answer is almost but not quite. There were a couple of stumbles, particularly after a difficult week for our family, but overall we did better than usual, so I’m giving us a B+ for January.

Now, without further adieu, February’s challenge is…

Improving Relationships!

february-achieve-2017

February is the month of love, but that doesn’t necessarily have to only mean romantic love. It can also encompass the love you have for yourself, family, friends, and yourself, as well as a general love of doing nice things for strangers. Plus, since we’re in kind of a funky time in the United States where it’s so easy to get into arguments about things, I thought a little extra love couldn’t hurt anything!

Since it’s already February 5, you have a couple of options if you’d like to participate in this challenge : A. Just pick 23 items from the list instead of doing all 28, or B. Continue this challenge into March and have a couple of days with overlapping challenges after the March challenge starts. You could also do a couple of overlapping days in February to finish by the next challenge. Look at all of these options!

Here is my relationship improvement list. If you’re not married or dating someone or in a romantic relationship, replace all references of spouse with a friend or family member. I also didn’t include anything to build relationships with children because our child is still a little too young to do these things for, but feel free to mix in your child(ren) for some of these items!

  1. Compliment your spouse publicly
  2. Send a note to a friend
  3. Email or message someone you haven’t talked to in a while
  4. Buy your mom or dad a coffee
  5. Do a chore that your spouse hates to do
  6. Call your grandparents
  7. Don’t say negative things about anyone for an entire day
  8. Spend a couple of hours by yourself doing something you wouldn’t usually do
  9. Go on or plan an unusual date with your spouse
  10. Introduce yourself to one of your neighbors if you don’t know any of them
  11. Tell someone you admire them or something about them
  12. Send out old school paper valentines to friends
  13. Tip someone who accepts them but who you normally don’t tip
  14. Go to dinner with your sibling(s)
  15. Bring your coworkers a Valentine’s Day treat
  16. Have a conversation with someone you see every day but don’t really know
  17. Let someone in front of you in line
  18. Send your future self an encouraging note (use futureme.org to schedule it)
  19. Make your family’s favorite dinner
  20. Hang out with someone you haven’t seen in a while
  21. Let someone merge at the last second, even when it annoys you to no end
  22. Comment on someone’s blog post (you’re welcome to do that here hahaha)
  23. Don’t write that brilliant comeback to that person’s political post. Seriously.
  24. Ask your coworkers if there’s anything you can to do help them with projects
  25. Send a dumb meme to your sibling
  26. Let your spouse sleep in one morning
  27. Help someone out at the grocery store who has his/her hands full
  28. Compliment a stranger

There you have it! I’ll edit this post and mark items out as I complete them. If any of you participate in part or all of this month’s challenge, let me know by using #Achieve2017 on social media or use the button above to share on your blog, social media accounts, etc. Also, look for March’s challenge earlier than on March 5!

 

Resolutions and Crap

I put a lot of thought into that title, obviously.

Happy almost 2017! Whether you thought 2016 was the most evil year ever or you didn’t find it all that bad, we’re about to  start a new year with new possibilities.

If you know me in real life, then you know I’m a huge nerd for the new year and making lists and goals. I’ve not been great about my follow through in the past, which you probably knew if you browsed the blog archives and saw the many challenges that I started and never finished. For the new year, I feel different and more determined. I don’t know the cause of it, but I am ready to make big changes, hit major goals, and complete a lot of these undone, lingering tasks that have plagued me for far too long.

One way I plan to achieve these things is to take some time each week to go over goals, tasks, and plans to organize and arrange my week. I have not been prioritizing this, and I can tell a huge difference in how I feel and how smoothly my week goes when I do this.

I am using the word achieve as my focus word for the year. I haven’t done this in a couple of years, but after seeing it pop up in several different Facebook groups, plus after thinking about the changes I want to make, this seemed like the perfect word for me in 2017. I had originally thought about using the word discipline, but after looking at some of the definitions and synonyms of discipline, achieve seemed like it had a more positive connotation, and it covers more of what I want to accomplish in the new year. Anyone else have a word for the year?

One final piece to my resolutions and crap (ha!) is to have a series of monthly challenges that I will write about here. I’m calling them #Achieve2017 (I know, I know…). I have hammered out the challenges for January – March and will write a more detailed post on all of them once I get the rest of the year settled. If you would like to join in, the challenge for January is no restaurants/coffee shops. Ouch! After all of the money we’ve spent and terrible food we’ve eaten recently, this one will be a double whammy for us. I am so bad about not meal planning and not thinking about dinner until after work when I’m on my way to pick up Charlotte, so we fall into the restaurant trap a lot more than I care to admit. So, if you’d like to join me for this month’s challenge, leave a comment here or on Facebook and let me know that you’re in. I’ve also spent several hours making a nice little graphic for January’s challenge. It’s posted below, so if you’re joining in and want to add it to your blog or any social media, go ahead! If you’re a little more low-key, use the hashtag #Achieve2017 to join in.

achieve2017jan

Here’s to a successful and fantastic 2017!

2016 State of the Blog Address

Two weeks ago, I shared some stats about how the blog performed last year. Now it’s time to look at the present year and talk about some of the goals that I have for it. This was supposed to be last week’s post, but I had sinuses of doom last week and had no interest in publishing anything, so I hope everyone enjoyed their break from me. Ha!

State of blog

Goal 1: Publish consistently on Mondays: With the exception of last week, I’m doing well on this one. 😉 I have a lot of ideas for things to write about, plus I have 18 posts in my draft folder that need to be cleaned up and published. I would also like to repost some of the “oldies but goodies” that I’ve written that either got a great response or didn’t get the amount of readers that I thought they would. I shouldn’t deprive the world of my weekly genius, right?

Goal 2: Clean up old posts: I used to have this blog on a Blogger site, and I noticed that when I migrated it to WordPress, some things got a little janky. I want to go back and clean up the old posts by making the tags and categories more consistent, updating any graphics that have the old blog name on them, making new graphics, and tweaking any formatting that looks meh.

Goal 3: Don’t undertake lofty blogging projects: Case 1 – My “one word” for 2015 that I wrote about maybe twice and then never mentioned again (coincidentally, the word was consistent and that was supposed to motivate me. See how well that worked out…). Case 2- Blogging for a month about a book, a list of topics from another blog, or projects that I want to complete around the house. I think there’s a balance between posting once a week and committing to a month of daily posting. I want to write more often, and I would love to eventually write full time, but for now, it’s not realistic, and I just continue to set myself up for failure when I undertake projects like that. I do plan to continue the “Five Favorites” posts on the last Monday of the month because I enjoy doing them and haven’t found them to be too much of a burden so far…especially since I skipped a few months of it after starting it!

Goal 4: Feature guest postings: In case you’ve forgotten or missed one of the fifteen hundred announcements about it, we’re having our first baby in April. Although I’m sure she’ll be extremely well-behaved, immediately sleep through the night, able to feed herself right out of the womb, and not require any attention or entertainment, I still feel like I may not be able to blog for at least a couple of days weeks months after she makes her grand appearance (with the exception of putting a birth announcement on here because that’s pretty much required for blogs and social media now). Although I said in Goal 1 that I have a lot of drafts to publish and some archived content to republish, I still want to make sure that I have plenty of content during my blogging maternity leave, so here’s where you, the smart and talented reader, come into the picture!

If you have always wanted to write a blog posting, here’s your chance! I don’t really have any set categories or parameters, so I’ll publish just about anything rated PG-13 or below (and PG-13 content may be edited if it makes me blush…and I’m a 95 year old lady, so just keep that in mind). If you have a blog and would like to post a teaser to one of your posts on here, that would be great too! I don’t pull huge numbers here (or else I would have a book or a line of cookware at Walmart), but it will get you some exposure to a different audience. If you don’t have a blog, that’s fine also! I know sometimes people have an idea of something to write but no real outlet for it, so here’s your chance to publish it somewhere and become Internet famous (results may vary).

If you are interested in being a guest poster, then let me know by commenting here or on my connected social media sites with your contact information. We can work out the details of what you’re going to write about and when it will be posted. I want to have everything lined up and scheduled by March 14, so even if you’re a huge procrastinator like me, that gives you almost two months to write something and send it my way. Also, keep in mind, if your posting does better than any of mine, I will make you pay me. Don’t ask me to explain how that works; it’s the Amber law.