Thursday, December 31, 2015

My Number One Tip for Goal Setting

It's that time of year again!  2016 is less than 24 hours away, and everyone is busy planning to join the gym, read more, drink more water, etc.  But, by February 1st, a lot of those resolutions will be forgotten.  So here's my number one tip for reaching your goals:

Have someone hold you accountable!  

Seriously!  It was December of 2014 when I got the idea to have a goals group, which follows the Masterminds group idea.  I had one friend in mind and an acquaintance that I thought would be a good fit.  I nervously broached the topic with each separately and both were up for it.  It turned out to probably be the best decision I made that year, in all areas of my life.

We've added a fourth member in 2015, and we meet once a month, usually at one of our houses, we have a meal, then drink coffee or tea and go over how we did in the previous month, and what we hope to accomplish in the coming month.  We usually try to meet at the end of the month or early in the month.  We all have different work schedules so we've done 8am breakfasts at a restaurant in town, weekends, weeknights, and even while all on vacation together in the Upper Peninsula.

You may be introverted and think you'll do better on your own or don't like sharing, but honey, I'm a major introvert and a lot of times just knowing I'm going to have to give an account of how I did is enough to push me to try a little harder.  The key is finding the right people for your group.

goal setting

There's very few ground rules, but here's a couple ideas.

When forming a group:
  • Find people who are going to take this seriously, be encouraging and committed.  You don't want flakers, no matter how fun they are to hang out with.
  • Limit the group to an intimate number.  For the sake of closeness and to keep meetings from lasting a whole days, I recommend just having two or three members, besides yourself.  If you can't come up with two friends, you can do it with just one, as long as they're going to be dedicated.
  • Plan on meeting at lease once a month.   We also have a closed Facebook group to keep in touch during the month.
At meetings:
  • Everyone takes a turn sharing how they did in the past month and shares their goals for the coming month.
  • Everyone writes down each others goals, and their own.
  • No goal or plan is considered stupid or laughed at.  I think if one of us said we wanted to lose 20 pounds in the coming month, the others would step in and suggest a smaller goal or explain why that wouldn't be safe, but no goal is laughed at.
  • We don't share each others goals with anyone outside of the group.  You need a safe place for your dreams to grow.  You can't do that if others are blabbing them to everyone else.
  • Encourage each other.  You may have wanted to exercise five days a week, but only averaged three.  If prior you weren't exercising at all, that's still an improvement.  Focus on the positive, but keep pushing each other. 
And remember: If everything goes well, you are going to probably become very close to your group members.  We often get together in groups of two or three outside of the group when our schedules allow.  I've gone hiking, vacationing, out for coffee, sold in a craft fair, went for walks, and ate countless meals with these girls.  Look for ways to foster closeness outside of the monthly meeting. Send cards to cheer each other up, remember birthdays, share in their joy and sadness.
I accomplished more of my goals in 2015 than in any previous year.  And I'm really looking forward to what 2016 has in store for our group.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

12 Days of Christmas Show Off

I was apparently a very good girl this year, because I got all sorts of goodies in blog swaps this year. The Chaotic Goddesses hosted their annual Twelve Days of Christmas swap and of course I had to sign up. I was partnered with the lovely Judy from The Knotty Needle and she did a great job!  We share a love of office supplies, crafting, writing, and books so it was a match made in heaven for me.  I had so much fun shopping for her, and she did a great job finding things that were exactly up my alley.  Want to see?

 In no particular order:
  • Peppermint bath salts!  Yum.  They smell great.  I love taking baths, especially in the winter.
  • A  box of assorted chocolates.  These were delicious!  I managed to make them last about three days. :)
  • Sturdy Girl All Purpose Cream.  Herbal and yummy.  Winter in Wisconsin makes your skin feel gross, so this is going to come in super handy.
  • Exploding Tardis coasters.  I love Doctor Who, and these are awesome!  I have a copy of the Exploding Tardis print above my desk in my office.

  • A beautiful gold gilded journal. Writing more in 2016 is on my to do list, and this little baby is going to come in handy. 
  • A little pottery dish that I moved into my office to hold my wonder clips.  Which by the way, if you sew and haven't tried wonder clips, you totally should, they're great for bag making.
  •  Rose scented lotion and shower gel.  Again- bath stuff is always appreciated in winter. 
  •  My favorite pen- Acroballs.  I thought Judy was psychic, but when I asked her on Instagram, she told me she had learned they were a favorite from a past blog post.  I don't even remember posting that. :)

  • A book of bookplate labels. I share my books a lot, so these will be very handy. 
  • A lavender scented candle with an awesome wood wick. Lavender is my favorite smell. 
  • A wood inlay bookmark. This is beautiful, and the picture really doesn't do it justice. I was taking it early in the morning and the lighting wasn't very good. 
  • A box of homemade bath bombs! Awesome! Have I mentioned how much I love baths yet? These are going to be great!

Want to see what everyone else got?  Just head over to Chaotic Goddess for the full round up!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Long Time, No See!

Hey everyone!  Guess what!

I hadn't originally intended to take nearly a month off, but December was so busy I really didn't have time for much extracurricular fun.  So here's a quick recap of what I did on my time off and what I'm intending to do in the near future.

  • Finished my final natural science class to earn my Associates of Arts and Science degree through the University of Wisconsin.  I took a class on natural disasters, and while it was really informative, it was also kind of depressing.  For example, did you know Yellowstone National Park is really just a supervolcano that if it erupted, could wipe out a good sized chunk of North America, not to mention crops would fail and sunlight would be missing due to the ash cloud that would block out the sun for months or even longer?  Depressing.  However, the odds of this happening in our lifetime is pretty much nil.  Anyhow, I got an A in my class, and can now cross that off my life to do list.
  • I sewed and sewed and sewed.  I did a craft fair with one of my girl friends in the beginning of December.  My biggest seller where these little tea bag wallets.  Super easy and a good scrap busting project.  After that, I worked on a project that involved turning World War II era navy uniforms into tote bags, dopp kits, cosmetic bags, and purses.  It was the commissioner's grandfather's old uniforms and she had me cut them apart and make them into Christmas gifts for her family.  It was a super fun project because she gave me pretty much carte blanche with it and I loved how it all turned out.
  • I barely got any Christmas cards out.  Life just got in the way.  I spent way to much time agonizing over finding the perfect gift for everyone and missed out on sending a lot of my cards.  Ah well, as I always say every year, "Next year I'll get my act together."
  • I worked quite a few day shifts.  Everyone knows 7am is not my favorite time to be up, dressed, and at work, especially since I usually work 3pm to 11:30, but with the holidays and such, sometimes you have to do what you have to do.  The first day was hard, but it got easier.  And, by working Christmas Eve day and Christmas day, I got to spend the evenings with family.
  • Santa was good to me.  My husband got me new winter tires for my Subaru, and a remote starter, which will come in so handy when I leave work late at night.  My parents got me 50 pounds of sunflower seeds for my bird feeder, a gift certificate for a massage, and some awesome sewing fabric.  My brother got me a gift card to Pier 1, and a new bamboo cutting board.  (He has this weird way of knowing what I've been wanting without me telling him.  One year he bought me colored bamboo bowls that I had actually picked up in the store and contemplated buying- but had put back, and I hadn't mentioned them to anyone, he just thought they looked like me and bought them.)  Plus, loads of other goodies from friends, blogging buddies, work Secret Santa and more.  I am a very spoiled girl.
  • I've been busy working on my 2016 goals, and I have a lot of them.  My motto for the year is, "Get Your Act Together."  And I think I'm on the right track.  I'm starting the year with a purification cleanse that involves eating lots of veggies and fruits, drinking water, protein in shakes, and not a whole lot else for 21 days.  It's basically about eating whole foods, cutting out booze (easy), caffeine (not so easy), and most meats, dairy, and grains.  My friend who is a chiropractor will be monitoring me.
  • I'm ready to devote more time to reading.  And to blogging.  And to learning new skills

    I have big plans for 2016 and look forward to sharing them all with you. What are you planning to do in the new year?

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

November Book Recap

Sorry for being MIA for most of November!  I am working on a bunch of different projects right now.  I have five days off in a row starting today, and I made a list of all the things I want to get done.  It's two pages long right now, and I keep thinking of things I forgot.  I'm doing a craft fair this Saturday, so I've been sewing for that, I have some contracted sewing for a lady for Christmas presents, so I've been working on that.  Next week is finals for school, so I'm finishing up some projects for that.  There's Christmas shopping, Christmas cards, gifts to wrap, packages to mail, and all the usual house things- grocery shopping, cleaning, etc.  And I'm already making plans for what I want to do in 2016!

I didn't get much reading done last month, but did get through a couple books and started a couple more.  And, I only picked up two more.  So here's how November shaped up:

What I Read
  • The Last Dickens by Matthew Pearl- I love his brand of historical fiction.  This book really made me want to read some big, thick Dickens novels.  I may put that on my 2016 to do list. 
  • Faithful Place by Tana French- Olive, my Books and Bloggers swap partner, was right, you just gotta love Frank!  Although, after reading this book, I don't feel as bad for all the headaches Cassie caused him in The Likeness.  I love Tana French characters because they're so real.  They make stupid choices, but they're real choices.  They lose their temper, they say hurtful things, but you love them all the more because they're more real because of it.  
What I Acquired
While I was up on Lake Superior for the day, with my friend Lori a few weeks ago, we stopped in to Spinster Books.  I am trying to be more conscious about what I buy, since my bookshelf is overflowing and my husband keeps casually mentioning, "When are you going to read all these?"  But, I found two new beauties.  I've been slurping up anything by Anne Lamott that I come across, so of course I had to get Imperfect Birds and then I found Finding Water by Julia Cameron.  She's the author of The Artist's Way and I love her style, so I snapped this one up to.  It's subtitled "The Art of Perseverance".  I think it'll be a good read.

2015 Totals
Books Read- 36
Books Acquired- 58