#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!

Four things that purging your Facebook friends list does for you

It seems like minimalism is the “in” thing right now. On a good number of the blogs I read, there are tips on how to purge your wardrobe, your belongings, and commitments. I love these ideas, but there is one aspect of purging that’s missing: your Facebook friends list. After deactivating for a few days recently (which I may write more about because I know people are riveted by my every word…), I discovered that there were certain people whose updates I missed and others that I didn’t.  I’m slowly cleaning out my friends list, and I have found four benefits in doing so:

1. It saves you time: Scrolling through status updates of hundreds of people (or however many Facebook wants to show you this week) is time consuming. Sure, you can hide people’s updates that you don’t really care to see, but if you’re doing that, shouldn’t you just go ahead and delete them?

2. It saves you emotional energy: Recently someone on my list posted about something that upset her. I didn’t really see why it made her so angry, so I spent more time than I care to admit doing research about the topic in order to post something about how she was getting too worked up about it. Thankfully, before I did that, I snapped to my senses and realized that I had better things to do and more important things to focus on. You may not be like me, but if you find yourself frequently getting worked up by things that people post on Facebook, then it’s time to evaluate whether or not you should remain friends with them.

3. It lets you build more authentic relationships: Take a look at your friends list. How many people are on there that you don’t really know how you know? What about people from high school that you really didn’t hang out with or people from a job you used to work at or a church you used to attend? Chances are, when you take a look at your entire friends list, you’ll find people that you haven’t talked to in months (or longer). Why do you need to know what they’re doing if you haven’t cared enough to contact them?

4. It can always be undone: If you go through a massive friend purge and realize that you miss seeing someone’s updates, then I have good news for you: you can always re-request them! Explain that you were reading a random blog about how great it would be to purge your friends list and you got a little crazy with the unfriending, but you miss seeing their updates. Simple as that.

Have any of you cleaned off your friends list? Did it change anything about how you use Facebook or connect with people? Do you think this whole topic is silly, and I need to be focusing on more important things, like cleaning out the massive piles of junk that are in our future nursery? 😉

One Word 2015 + a project

It’s time to wrap up 2014 and start focusing on 2015. I can’t believe it! This year feels like it has gone by so quickly!

Since I’m a bit of a nerd, I get really excited when it’s time to start planning for a new year. I do all sorts of planning- lists of goals and ideas, putting things in my planner (I ordered this one this year; it’s a lot more than I normally pay for a planner, but I had PayPal cash, she ran a Small Business Saturday special, and, well, I just wanted it…), etc. However, I’ve noticed that I have run into a problem over the last few years; I can plan all day, but I lack follow through. I have a lot of good ideas, but a lot of them never get off the ground. Plus, to be honest, I’m a bit of a flake at times, backing out on plans, not keeping my word, and being a bit lazy about things that I really should be more routine about, like chores.

With those things in mind, I started thinking about my One Word for 2015. If you don’t know what that means, just do a search for One Word, and you will find plenty of information about it! My One Word for 2014 was Healthy, but, as with many other things lately, I didn’t follow through with the plans I set for it, and so it kind of fizzled. So, as I thought and prayed about my goals for this upcoming year, something kept coming up. In fact, someone even posted something related to it on Facebook:

Consistent. Hmmm. I have a tendency to be all or nothing. If it’s not perfect and exactly like I want it, then I tend to just hibernate and not do anything at all. If I don’t know where to start on a project, then instead of just taking small, consistent steps to start it and work on it, then I just do nothing at all. As a friend put it, I’m kind of like a pendulum and I swing wildly from one side to another instead of just getting a little off track.

So, what can I do to reach my goals and keep myself on track in 2015? Make small changes. Take baby steps every day. Keep my word to myself and others. Be consistent.

Yep. I think I have a word for 2015.

The graphics both in the post and on my sidebar were created by the talented Meredith Duke. Her word for 2015 is BOLD, Check out her post about how she chose this word and what it means to her.

If you have a word for 2015, tell me about it in the comments. Link to your blog if you have one, and if you’d like a graphic, visit Meredith’s blog, and she’ll be glad to make one for you! 🙂

I plan to revisit my word a few times this year since I am going to blog every Monday (be consistent, right?), so stay tuned for updates.

Now, since this post isn’t quite long enough (ha), let me briefly talk about another project I’m starting in 2015 that I’m tentatively calling “Pray Every Day.”

During the Thanksgiving to Christmas season, I started noticing how many of my friends and family members were having a challenging time. Whether it was because of a loss, a personal difficulty, or a number of things, it just seemed like a lot of people weren’t quite in the holiday spirit. I felt like I needed to start praying for people and get out of my selfish bubble, and as I thought more about it, this project was born.

I plan to pray for a different person (or people) every day in 2015. I’ve got a list started with some birthdays and anniversaries of friends and family, so I can pray for them on those days, but there are still a lot of days unaccounted for. So, if you would like me to pray for you on your birthday, anniversary, or another day that holds significance- good or bad- fill out the form below. If you have children or other family members or friends you’d like me to pray for, fill it out on their behalf. If you don’t have a specific date, then I’ll fill one in and let you know what date I’ve chosen (if you’d like me to). Thanks for reading!