life: 2019 goals and a recap

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Happy New Year! It’s time for the obligatory New Year’s goal post. But, first, let’s celebrate what went right in 2018.

Good things in 2018

  • I got my promotion!
  • Celebrated 1 year of podcasting (The Bluestocking Circle Podcast)
  • Wrapped up another round of edits with the intention to start querying
  • Restarted my fitness “journey”
  • Committed to eating less meat and adopted a more plant-based diet
  • Committed to letting things go, both emotionally and physically
  • Discovered The Four Tendencies and learned a lot about myself (video to come!)

All good things indeed.

Goals for 2019

  1. Continue to focus on health – dealing with PCOS and hypo symptoms, and using food to heal my body.
  2. Start querying!
  3. Work on a new (old) manuscript
  4. Focus on mental health. I’ve been dealing with more stress than usual and it’s starting to manifest in physical symptoms (see goal 1).

I keep my goals simple. #1 and 4 will definitely affect my ability to accomplish 2 and 3, but I’m optimistic.

What are your goals for 2019? Let me know in the comments 🙂

video: reading goals for 2017

A little late (in more ways than one), but I just got back from court (long story) and here is my highly personalized take on the 2017 reading challenge.

life: new year, new outlook

2017

My goal is to stay positive and live fully in 2017 (and in the years to come). I’m not entirely optimistic about the state of the government and such, but I’m cautiously hopeful and pragmatic—I can’t fix everything, but I can fix the little things and be open and aware.

I’ve filmed a couple of videos for January 🙂 so there’s some newness to look forward to, but I’m keeping it simple with the goals for 2017.

  • Reread some old favorites (yep, there’ll be a video on that)
  • Feed my yoga practice
  • Walk more
  • Write consistently (and survive the mess in between)
  • Practice food freedom
  • Save for travels

That’s it. See you around for the ride 🙂

video: thoughts on goals and 2016

I only just realized it’s Friday (!). Where has the time gone? My days are a blur; I’ve been off all week. Been writing, cleaning, and mentally preparing for the feasting and gifting. Can’t wait to hand out all the presents and finally clear the corner in my bedroom where they’re piled.

This may be the last video for the year… or maybe not… all depends on how things turn out. If it’s not, see you next Friday. If it is, see you next year 🙂

life: 2016 recap, life changes

The time has come for yearly recaps!

I already went over the good things that happened this year (let’s not speak of the bad again), but today I wanted to talk about the changes I’ve made; these include health, life, and wellness in general, but also little changes, like taking the time to play with the cats every night, or just learning to enjoy the moment.

This year, I completed 3 Whole30s (I’m in reintroduction mode right now). I’ve never followed a health plan, and I have my doubts about some of the methods out there, but the Whole30 just made sense at a time when I was feeling adrift with my health (see my original post, video, and initial reintro). I love the program. It works for me and it helps me reset when I’m not feeling my best. I am currently reading Melissa Hartwig’s Food Freedom Forever and it just makes me feel all kinds of YES!

I started journaling on a regular basis (stay tuned for a journaling update this Friday). Just taking the time to reflect on my day has improved my mental state when dealing with stress (and there has been a lot of that this year).

I dove head-first into minimalism as a serious lifestyle goal. I became intrigued by the idea of the KonMari method when looking to help my mom with her own excess, but I fell in love with the idea of a light, joyful lifestyle that relies on conscious consumerism and intentional living.

These are the big ones, and I look forward to sharing my progress into the new year.

living thriftily, the latest

I’ve always been the frugal sort, and I always will be. Being moneywise is as much a part of me as my love of reading. Though I live comfortably, it’s definitely a life lived within my means. Last year, I took the 52 week money-saving challenge. I didn’t quite make it to week 52, but I did get pretty close. I thought of that money as an extra fund to use for a special splurge (maybe a trip or some high quality shoes). I let it go and didn’t count the amount when the challenge ended, letting it stay in my special jar until needed.

On Tuesday, my cat needed surgery. It was time to break into the jar. I counted out the bills and they were just enough to cover the procedure. Sometimes, life happens, which is why I always like to have a buffer. I’ve been poor. It’s always in the back of my mind when I make a purchase that feels wasteful (even if I can afford it). I’m going to pay off that bill and start a new jar… just in case I do get the chance to do something special.

This year, I’m also trying to stick to a “shop your own closet” plan. I have more than enough clothes to see me through the next few seasons, and my style tends towards the classic, so I needn’t fear outdated trends. I’m trying to be more appreciative of what I have and keep only those items that I really make use of… there’s no sense in having a closet full of clothes if I don’t wear any of them. My plan is to rotate and cull as I go… making way for only those items that fit well and look good with anything. Makeup and accessories go far in adding some variety to my look, but my look still has a slightly retro feel to it–red lips and ballet flats tend to be the standard for me. I was trying to do a selfie-a-day thing to keep track of my outfits, but I’m too impatient and quick to give up on regular posting. I’d rather just remind myself to add some color and call it a day.

In the meantime, I’m trying to find a way to sell my old silver rings for cash. I’m clueless when it comes to selling silver for scrap, but they’re too big for me and I’m over having a pile of unused jewelry sitting in a box.

back to basics

simplicityandbalance

2015 is going to be about simplicity and balance. I’ve started by clearing out my closet and drawers (a much-needed task) and removing everything that went unused for the past year, that never quite fit, that never looked quite right, that I received as a present but didn’t really like, and that I own more than one of (in other words, how many scarves and water bottles do I really need?). This amounts to a lot of stuff to be donated. I regularly cull, but it’s been a while since I went for a full-scale de-cluttering of the bedroom and kitchen. My closet and cabinets are so much easier to sort through now that I can actually see what’s available.

Next on my agenda, a serious look at my shelves. I managed to eliminate a lot of grad school books when I moved out two years ago, but books tend to multiply like bunnies in my place… and while the idea of wall-to-wall shelves is lovely in theory, it just doesn’t work for me. I am not averse to weeding and know when it’s time to let go.

To manage the process without becoming overwhelmed, I joined Apartment Therapy’s January Cure and hope to have a neat and tidy apartment by the end of the month.

I’m also making a concerted effort to adopt a new workout and writing routine. I’ve been unhappy with some of the changes that I’ve experienced in the last few months since taking on my new job and I’ve come to accept that there are limits on my time that I just can’t help. I just don’t have the time to workout for an hour and write for two on weekdays. I’m lucky to find the time to workout at all in the mornings, so I’m just going to aim for short morning workouts and 1-2 hours of writing in the evenings. Small steps are better than none. I can’t go back to the amount of productivity and time that I had in the past, not so long as I have a 2 hour commute and life responsibilities. There was a luxury to living at home and working fifteen minutes away that I didn’t learn to appreciate until it was too late.

This month, I’m working on finding little ways to be purposeful and enjoy the little things. This means taking a step back and assessing my goals and ways to meet them, rather than diving in without a plan and crashing headlong into the tangled mess of trying to make sense of it. Simple, balanced, and purposeful, that’s what I’m going for.

looking forward to a new year

I think of my resolutions as life goals that need improvement. I accomplished most of the goals that I set last year, with the exception of a couple that didn’t quite pan out… namely, 1) I didn’t run the three 5ks I said I would run:

  1. Because I had two major foot injuries during the summer (prime race season, apparently).
  2. Because I was broke when I could run and the races that were left were too expensive.

This year, I would still like to take part in some 5ks, but my real goal is to improve my mile time. Yes, my mile. It’s small, but now that I can actually run one without stopping or feeling like my lungs are about to burst, I think improving my time is the best goal to go for… distance will follow.

And, 2) I didn’t finish the second draft of Anúna (though I did finish the rewrite of Cassiel).

My other major goal is to get back on a limited, fixed budget. I was very good at doing this while I lived with my mom, and I managed to sustain a budget during the first few months while living on my own, but then there were those injuries and several unplanned expenses involving the move, and too much time shopping at Target, and that budget caved in. So, this year, I’m working on a fixed, tracked budget using Excel and the cash envelope system. I’m also planning on focusing on my savings again and want to consider my retirement options (I’ll be 30 this year, time to act the part.). My Pinterest is experiencing a rise in budgeting pins as a result.

Writing is a given, but I want to focus on not beating myself up every time I miss a self-imposed deadline because something happened to set me off my schedule. Life is busy and full of surprises. I need to stop sweating the small stuff and keep going. For now, I’m shelving Cassiel. It’s my pet project, but it’s a pet that needs time to grow. Anúna is my main objective and I want to focus my energy on writing the best novel I can.

Other goals include:

  • Making more things! – I miss being crafty and creative. I’ve let it go in favor of doing other things, but making is a great way for me to de-stress and produce something useful. This includes cooking, baking, DIY household and beauty products, and artses for the home. I’ve been making the stuff I pin and I’m finding it’s a great way to refresh and relax after a busy week.
  • Strengthening and toning are still top priorities for me. I want to feel stronger and more energized, and I enjoy the exercise. My main fitness plans involve yoga and pilates, running, and walking, as well as body-weight exercises such as planks and more.
  • Cutting back on my sugar consumption. In my daily meal-planning, I tend to control my sugar intake, but surprise sugar strikes when I least expect it. I need to control the urge to give in to sweets. Not good for me with my family history.

So there you have it… 6 do-able goals that I hope to turn into long-term habits.

much ado about nothing… hair edition

I have terrible, awkward, in-between hair. It’s not quite chin-length and it’s not quite shoulder-length. However, I have committed to doing something that I know will come to haunt me during the summer months… I am letting my hair grow. Yes, ladies and gents, I have solemnly sworn (or more like semi-lucidly promised) to let my hair grow out. The last time I did this, I was 21-ish and full of long-haired, Princess Leia fantasies. It reached mid-back before I went pixie. I guess my resolution is to stay away from pretty pictures of girls with pixie cuts and other inspiring short-haired images. I am going to stick to this! Tomorrow, I am having it trimmed and styled into something that will grow out with less awkwardness than the mop I am currently sporting. I can do it! I just need people to stop telling my how great I look with short hair! It doesn’t help! It’s like telling an alcoholic how much more fun they were when they were off the wagon.

A writing milestone

On the eve before NaNo, I finished Secret Project #1.

It’s called Cassiel, though that’s just the working title I gave it when I started in 2006. Yes, 6 years of on again, off again writing. I started right before I entered grad school (the first time), and worked on it steadily for that first year, then I just stopped. I had too much to do between school, thesis drafting, and work, and it seemed like something that could easily wait. And it did.

A couple of years after I started the project, I had about 10 chapters sitting in a folder, so I edited and charted out all the details so I could start writing again. Then I stopped again. It was time for grad school, part 2.

Last July, school was finally over. I would have professional and academic drains on my time. I would have to juggle a full time job and a relationship, but writing was suddenly something that I wanted to spend time on—even on days when it seemed like my time was compartmentalized into a crazy schedule of workout, go to work, go home, eat, write, sleep. I wrote. I took breaks and told myself I needed time off, but I kept coming back to it and plowing away.

Then I told myself I would take part in NaNo this year, and start working on one of those other secret projects I had stashed away in my writing folder. I gave myself until November to finish what I had started. I would not be working on two projects simultaneously, ain’t no way, ain’t no how. So I finished. Draft 1.5 at least.

It’s long, to start. Too long, so I will have to do some major revisions. And I know my voice changed halfway through the writing process. The writer who started this novel is not the writer who finished. My voice changed, how I write changed, and this work will change again before it is really worth shopping. But, for now, I will let out a long, contented sigh, and wait to tally up my word count (well over the 100,000 mark, so far as I can estimate) and make editing decisions. Maybe I’ll even start looking for a reader (a daunting thought for someone who refused to let anyone even see her work when she was writing).

This is one resolution I can scratch off my list 🙂

Now, for Project #2.