Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Ten on Tuesday: 2019 Goals Plus Word of the Year

I spent a lot of time thinking about my goals for the year.  Some of them for 2019 were goals I had for 2018.  That's okay.  If you don't reach your goal, don't change the goal, change the deadline.  Last year wasn't as successful as I wanted it to be because I did not set deadlines or create any real plan to accomplish most of my goals.  This year should be different.

Some of these are simple.  Others are large and will require a lot more work.

1.  Earn My Red Jacket:  This has always been a Mary Kay dream of mine.  I want to step into leadership and build a team and help those team members build their own businesses.  This will require me to step out of my comfort zone and speak to many more people about the career opportunity.  I'm still working out a plan of action for this goal, but we will set the date to accomplish this one to June 30.

2.  Pay Off 2 Credit Cards:  I paid these 2 credit cards off last year...I can do it again.  I'm close to paying off one of them and with proper planning, both will be paid off by March 1. The snowball  created by paying these 2 off will help me towards paying off another debt. 

3.  Makeover My Blog:  I still want to give my blog a major overhaul.  I want to do something different and a little more interesting.  I want to start working with videos.  The action plan is still being worked out.  With some of the other things I want to focus on this year, this one will take a long time to accomplish.  I don't want to rush anything or have it turn out sloppy.  I want it to be really great.  The date for this one is December 31.

4.  Get My Own Place Again:  The big move didn't happen.  I've started a new job I like a lot.  I want to have my own place again.  I miss my things; they've been packed up for over a year and a half now.  I also want a shorter commute to work.  I don't know if I will buy or rent, but I will get my own place again.  The date to accomplish this goal is October 1.  It's not impossible to do now, but will be easier to do if the next goal is accomplished.

5.  Pay Off 1 Student Loan:  I have 2 student loans, one is really large and the other is only kind of large.  On the current repayment plan, the smaller loan will be paid off in 36 months.  The goal is to pay it off this year.  This loan has been a giant thorn in my side since I got it.  I won't go into the details here, but I will say that come hell or high water, this loan is going to go away.  Even if its the only thing I get accomplished this year.

6.  Earn the Director's Suit:  I dream about that suit.  I dream about building my business into a leadership position.  The Director's Suit is one step closer to financial freedom.  The plan to accomplish this will be worked out after I have earned the Red Jacket.  Baby steps.  I will set the date for directorship for December 1.

7.  Read 40 Books:  I love Goodreads.  I love being able to track my reading progress.  I read every day.  I will have 40 books read by December 31.  You can follow my progress here.

8.  Maintain a Healthier Lifestyle:  I've become really lazy.  There, I said it.  No sugar coating.  I have gotten lazy.  I know this.  I also know that I drank alcohol nearly every single day last year.  Not intentionally or heavily, but it was not uncommon for me to have a drink after I got home from work.  I also ate out a lot, especially with breakfast and lunch.  The plan this year is to pack a lunch (and actually eat it) at least 4 days a week, and prep my own breakfast at least 3 times a week.  I will also incorporate healthier dinners into the meal plan that include variety without being tedious to make.  To overcome my laziness, I will exercise for at least 20 minutes 4 times/week; more if I feel inclined to do so.  I had completely stopped exercising.  Four days a week will be a major change, but it's not unrealistic.  I will also not allow myself the casual drink after work every night. I will limit that too.  I want to build better habits and have those in place to where they feel natural to me by December 31.

9.  Refinish Bookcase:  I got a bookcase for $5 last year.  It's recently been pulled out and stocked with all my books in a little reading nook I set up.  However, the current finish is ugly.  It's old and an awful color.  I haven't decided if I want to stain it, or if I want to paint it.  I do know that it will get refinished by July 1.

10.  Finish Christmas Shopping by December 1:  I hate being stressed throughout December hoping I will get my Christmas shopping done in time.  It happens to me every year too.  This year, I plan to save a little bit each month for the shopping fund and to also purchase things throughout the year, instead of starting to look for things in July and stop until November rolls around.  I've added a line item in my budget for Christmas savings to help make this happen.

These goals a very ambitious.  Many of them are financially related.  I know I have given myself a lot to focus on, but these are things that I really want to accomplish this year.  I'm tired of pushing things off, or saying that the timing isn't right, or some other bullshit excuse.  This year's word is DISCIPLINE.  I am going to post this word everywhere and focus on it hard.  Once plans are put into place to accomplish these goals, I am going to stay disciplined.  I will have an action plan with steps lined out.  All I have to do is follow those steps.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Happy New Year & Weekend Recap

Hello and Happy New Year!

I always love the feeling of starting fresh.  Especially when things didn't go as you had wanted, and you realized the reason why was because you didn't set a plan and stay disciplined.  That's alright, you can always start over and try again. 

Obviously, this past weekend was the first weekend of 2019 and it was so much more relaxing than the whole week off I had at Christmas.  That week was so full of activity, doctor's appointments, and people that there wasn't a whole lot of time to recharge, which is what I really needed.  This past weekend allowed for that.

I had my to do list made which included all sorts of simple projects, like painting my nails and reading a book, and larger projects, like planning my business for the year.  I didn't stress over getting everything done on that list this weekend and that doesn't bother me.  Instead, I focused on what would help me recharge, while still getting some things accomplished. 

I finished my first book of the year.  It was a book I had gotten in hopes of giving to my nephew for our book club.  It had potential and I was excited to read it.  However, it left much to be desired and I was so disappointed, I've decided not to give it to him.  This is why I read the books first. 

The bathroom closet had become over stuffed and cluttered over the past year, so I spent about 20 minutes getting it cleaned out and reorganized.  I wish I had taken photos, but I had gotten into the zone so quickly, I didn't stop to think about things like pictures.  I pulled out a whole bag of items to sell, like extra sheet sets and curtains, and organized each shelf.  It's so pretty, I often find myself opening the door just to look at it.  It's the simple things that bring joy everyone!

My books have been packed up in bags for over a year.  I finally decided that enough was enough and I pulled out my bookcase and unpacked all my books.  I set up a little reading nook and now seeing all my books out makes me happy.  There were many books I had forgotten I had. 

The rest of the weekend was spent chilling on the couch with my favorite TV shows and a Toy Story movie marathon.  It was such a relaxing weekend, yet I still got some projects completed.  I need more weekends like this one.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Books of 2018: Top 5

I read some really great books this year.  Basically all that land on this Top 5 list, I want to find a permanent place for in my personal library.

5.  The Dark is Rising, by Susan Cooper

This was a new series for me.  I love a good series.  Especially one that takes you on an incredible journey, includes amazing characters, and also includes myth and legend.  This particular book is the second in the series, so start with Over Sea, Under Stone.  Following the Drew children, their mysterious "uncle", and friends on a quest that includes good/evil, magic, Old Ones, and more was thrilling.  Seriously consider reading this series.  "When the Dark comes rising, six shall turn it back, three from the circle, three from the track; wood, bronze, iron; water, fire, stone; five will return, and one go alone.”

4.  The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck, by Sarah Knight

Okay, not to state the obvious, but this book can really change your life.  I loved the narration of the author throughout this fabulous guide about managing your "fuck budget".  When I decided my "fuck budget", its amazing how much relief and less stress I felt.  It was also very funny at times.  I liked this so much that I have read all of Sarah's books and can't wait for her next one.

3.  Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, by Robert C. O'Brien

This was a book I gave my nephew for our book club.  Every book I give them, I read myself as well.  I love this story.  The Rats are amazing and Mrs. Frisby is a gem.  I love how this book explains what makes the Rats so extraordinary and why they are willing to help Mrs. Frisby and her family.  By the way, the book and the movie (The Secret of NIMH) are vastly different.  Both enjoyable, but the book is better.

2.  The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak

I think what makes this book so great is how it is told from the perspective of Death during World War 2.  Following Liesel's book thievery throughout Germany  is so interesting, especially since she can't read.  Introduce a fleeing Jewish boy and this story takes on a whole new dynamic.  It's quite the tome, but so worth the read.

1.  The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins

Yes, I know I am way behind in the times when it comes to this story.  I refused to watch any of the movies before I read this complete series.  I am so glad I did too.  I love the movies, and I absolutely love the books.  This series is profound and exciting.  It's progression was very well written too.  Also, I have never been so distraught and worried over a fictional character before, and that's including the Harry Potter series.  I already want to re-read these books again and again.  Wow.

There were some other books throughout the year that I thoroughly enjoyed and I had a difficult time choosing just 5 for this list.  To see which other books I enjoyed that you might be interested in, visit my Goodreads page.  I hope you find a book that you like.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Books of 2018: Bottom 5

This past year, I read 59 books total.  I might read one more, just to make it even. :)  I read 4 new series, reconnected with books of my past, started a book club with my niece and nephew, and found a couple new favorite authors.

Below are my bottom 5 books of the year.  These opinions are my own and may not be the same as yours.  If you are interested in reading some of these, or have already read them and enjoy them, my views are not meant to offend.  We all have different tastes.

5.  Haunted, by R.L. Stine

It's not surprising that a book I read as a teenager ends up on the bottom 5 list.  A few of them do, actually.  I probably shouldn't even count them.  This particular story line was a bit too much.  It had potential.  It could have been great.  However, it fell so short.

4.  Lights Out, by R.L. Stine

I'm just going to say it...it was so cheesy.  Not uncommon for Fear Street books, but this one was difficult to finish, even at less than 165 pages.  I had to laugh a few times though at how some situations create such drama for teenagers. 

3.  Uncommon Type, by Tom Hanks

Tom Hanks as an actor...absolutely brilliant.  Tom Hanks as a narrator of his own stories...dull.  I was so excited to read this.  I like short stories and I love Tom Hanks as an actor.  He's one of my favorites.  I did the audio version of this book, so maybe the narration affected my interest.  There were only one or two stories I really enjoyed, and they were both at the end.  I struggled to get through this.  The narration was so dull and did not hold my attention well.  Maybe I might revisit this in the future and read from the actual book.  Maybe not.

2.  A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L'Engle

I know.  Don't hate me.  I did not like this book.  I've been told to read it before.  I wanted to read the book before seeing the movie.  Well, I never saw the movie.  Why?  Because I did not like this book.  When asked what I thought by the person who recommended it, my response was..."meh".  I found the main character to be too much of a whiner (seriously) throughout the story and the three witches would sometimes be too annoying.  I can give credit to the author for taking on such topics and being ahead of her time, although I was not sucked into this story as many others have been.  And for such a bold author and the overwhelming number of characters, the best name for the evil thing chosen was "IT"? And what "IT" turns out to be was completely underwhelming.

1.  Fear Park, The Last Scream, by R.L. Stine

Just so...utterly...stupid.  It's the last book of the trilogy.  That's the only reason I read it.  I kind of liked the first one and the next two got progressively worse.  Really, the only reason I read this particular series was because I decided to revisit those beloved Fear Street books I loved so much growing up.  With three Fear Street books on this bottom five list, it still won't keep me from re-reading others from the series.  There's something to be said about nostalgia.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

2018 Goals: Year End Update

Now that the year 2018 is coming to a close, let's take a look back at those goals I set in January.

You can see that this year did not go as I would have liked.  Let's look at that goal that has been removed from the list.  The original plan was to move to North Carolina.  I searched heavily for a job, had a few interviews, was making plans.  Then I sat and considered and for many reasons, I decided I was not going to move yet.  A lot of thought went into that decision process.

Next, we can see that I did manage to pay off 2 credit cards.  These were cards I had for stores and was able to get them paid off and keep them paid off for months.  I spent on them a little for Christmas, so you will see this goal again in 2019.  The important thing is that I did pay them off.

I finally finished that crochet blanket I started 2.5 years ago.  It's super heavy and very warm.  You can see it in this post.

I managed to not only reach my goal of reading 40 books this year, but I surpassed it by reading 58 books.  Thank goodness for audio books and a longer commute.  I will do a post again this year with my bottom 5 and top 5 books of the year.

Not much progress was made toward the rest of the goals.  These will make another appearance in 2019 for sure.

This year was meant to be EPIC.  However, considering my tendency to let excuses and distractions get in the way of my plans, this year could almost be considered an epic fail.  It's time to re-evaluate and actually put plans into place and stick with them to accomplish new goals I will set for myself that will positively impact my life.

I'm putting this year to rest.  I'm moving on.