I Made Plans Today

January is my number one planning month. I like to plan, but in the past I had more plan than execution which always translates into disappointment and frustration. In more recent years, I moved into an action-oriented way of doing things which then resulted in the type of LaLaland distraction which I have always been prone to. Come to think of it, I wonder if my love of planning had some of its origins in how well it worked to help me cope with the outside world and its demands.

Whatever… that is an example of the rabbit trail kind of thinking that dogs my life 🙂

Back to telling you what I did today that relates to you- my dear readers, or happenstance visitors…

I made plans today that incorporated two activities and goals that are at the top of what I would love to accomplish this year:
Get Ready!

Better Health Better Blogging

Which I am hoping will help to accomplish

Better Success

You might be disappointed in how cliched, how prosaic, those goals are, aren’t these the goals of 99.9% of the people out there? Maybe not the blogging, but some part of their life like that. Health and fitness always rate right up there for most people. But for me, I linked the two, and outlined them on paper.

There is a part of my brain that is convinced that uniting goals and making connections between dissimilar parts of our lives leads to a better balanced and successful overall life.

‘Blogging’ and ‘Health’ goals have been at opposite poles for me in the past few years. when I spent lots of time blogging, or making websites (the involvement with sitting long periods at the computer), the worse the effect on my physical well being. I became sedentary, I snacked on food I usually don’t even like (always unhealthy processed, fat-laden, sugar-infused foods), sat in awkward positions, just to name a few of the worse side effects of loving to blog.

When I exercised, gardened, took walks and hikes, cooked from scratch… interacted with people, you know, real life activities, I not only did not write or work on computer related website-making or graphics, or any of the many tasks linked with blogging… I lost my place. That’s right, I had no idea of what I wanted to do with the sites or blogs, and had problems with the software. Updating, using plugins for function, fixing things that go awry, became a giant learning curve again.

That also is very much my natural personality default. Long periods of focus sharpen my thinking, as well as create the logic and connections that my mind works well with.  If other activities take me far away from the thought and concentration and I sort of forget everything.

So, I have decided to harness the power of blogging to sort through and create accountability in some of my desired improvements, including taking ownership of health. It isn’t enough to know the requisite knowledge of what to eat or how to exercise, etc. I need to incorporate the actions, and in a way that I don’t lose sight of other important goals in my life, like communicating with people.

So, I made my map for a couple goals, and this long dormant blog is going to be a part of this experiment.

My experiment in this years resolutions, which I confessed to my family in our conversation time on January 2nd, that I have not even formulated yet. Until I wrote my plan for the health/blog/outline, I didn’t even have much of an idea that I was going to focus on health this year. At least not in a real, organized type of way.

And do you know what inspired it all? God works in mysterious ways, I tell you: a Sam’s Club Advertisement magazine. Yes.
I think it congealed with the Copyblogger articles I was reading which lead to an INC article and BOOM! There I was making my plan.

I remembered I joined the affiliate programs for these businesses, so in the spirit of integrating goals, plans, and actions I’ll post my affiliate banners here. Perhaps at some point I will know how to sync serving my posts linked with business affiliations etc.that will be of real value to the readers. For now, it is just sort of a non sequitor random banner posting… just because reading Sam;s club’s ads sparked a whole new direction of my thinking in a positive way.

47296_Shop at Samsclub.com (120x60)

Inspired Theme

Marry Your Actions, Motivations, and Goals

More often than not we leave out an important partner in our planning and dreaming. People write books on this fact, and we often buy those books. But we tend to look at the whole as a project list of bits and pieces. Maybe that is where a vision board comes in, to bring together a visual map of all the components, including the all important motivation for the entire goal we started out with at the year’s beginning.

As I piece together the good advice of many successful people, the challenge is to apply it to a resistant part of my life. For the first time in years I began some art projects, even though I had to change the media to computer graphics rather than hard copy paper and pencil. Although I still would like to manage some of those projects in the coming year.

Motivations

Those are the things we pinpointed in our planning and envisioning as primary reasons we wish to go forward in a particular direction with the life and resources ahead of us. It is a common failing to lose sight of a goal, to let the vision fade, and get distracted by so-called “lef”. “So-called” simply because it is not always the necessary that intervenes, but very often the unnecessary that we are slow to recognize as competition to the real life we want to have. Recording our motivation in some way , providing reminders of the motivation will aid in keeping the eye on the main road we decided to take in the year ahead.

Motivation memory will also keep us from getting stuck in ruts or outmoded schedules, or even to help us to be flexible with the demands that arise. Demands can be an important part of refining our plans, which often are focused on ourselves, when our bigger vision will include our relationship with others. If we remember our initial motivation for a goal, and its plans, we are capable of making the decision needed to address the demand and in what timetable is best. Our basic nature will tend to swing towards our internal compass of needing to please others, or wanting to meet our own wants and needs. It is easy to get in the habit of answering one or the other, when a balance is needed. Plugging back into a motivation will help us rebalance when necessary.

Record your motivation for making goals:
I want to be healthier because I want to be more active and hike ( or play tennis or whatever)
I want to be closer to God (more time for prayer,grow spiritually,etc)
I want to garden ( because it has always calmed and centered me, I love the way being outdoors makes me feel, etc)

Those are personal examples of how my goals, plans and motivations marry to create something bigger than the parts, and propel me to be the person I most would like to be in the coming year.

Hoep these notes to myself are of help in creating a successful year of accomplishing resolution from dreams in the life of others,too ( that is one of my motivations for blogging!)

Goals + Motivations = Actions and might just be a marriage made in heaven.

A Planning Tool for Goals and Accomplishing Dreams

I came across an interesting concept, new to me, but not new. It is like making an idea board for your dreams, with the view of making them a reality in the coming year. It is called a vision board. It is a cross between idea maps and collage art which I find a fun idea, even if it doesn’t accomplish the original intent of inspiring motivation throughout the year. You can make your personal art and that is something quite accomplished in itself!

Magazine Photo Collage and Art Therapy are articles with helpful videos that explain the method of creating the boards.

Dream boards seemed to become popular with The Secret. Which is a book and subsequent movie I have neither read nor seen. But I am very interested in it now!

The thing about this kind of art is how easy and accessible it is. I used to regularly do collage in my childhood and pre-teen years. Looks like I may be reverting to childhood this year as I take a journey into creating a few of these boards for my own vision awareness. I already tried one just to begin (always a favorite way to incorporate a new activity into my life:jump right in!)

Focus For 2011

angelicI love landmarks. They give me a sense of where I am and where I’m going. Seemingly empty spaces of endless desert space that have no remarkable features make me feel a bit uneasy,although the fact is that nothing is truly featureless on earth- you just have to pay attention and know what to look for.

Take the Aborigines of Australia, for instance. But I’m digressing from pinpointing a couple focus points for 2011.

I was listening to a teaching video about a topic I was interested in, by Naomi Dunford and Dave Navarro (who use a lot of bad language in it, but then, that is part of the Ittybiz brand) and one of the things they said triggered a thought that has been surfacing for me recently.

Stop Lying To Yourself

… and that is a focus point for this year. It is time to decidedly throw off the false perceptions, the stultifying barriers that your own mind has erected, and the burdensome excuses that you repeat to yourself. They keep dragging your best efforts and intentions back into the muck. Which isn’t a good place.

Once I stop lying to myself I have more space and time to finding true and helpful things to say to myself… and then to others. AND -most importantly- I will align myself with the intentions of my Creator. I was made a certain way with specific qualities, and I am developing or neglecting those things according to how I understand those basics. That isn’t a whole theological doctrine or philosophy of fatalism, because, especially with the Lord Jesus in your life, there is new creation going on all the time. But it still helps to be aware of the things in your life already.

This focus on “stop lying to myself” is something that is rather theological for me, come to think of it. Basically it is removing a major blockade that stands in the way of believing God, and advancing towards goals with some assurance of success. When we operate according to lies we just spin in senseless circles. Eastern religions have a real concept worked out on this. Several have an explanation for futility, but all I need to understand is this determination to stop lying. It sets the point back to neutral, but it also opens the pathway. That is important.

The positive side of this lesson is one that this past year has had been increasingly revealing. Through experiences, teachings, and during prayer- coming to know who I am. Who I am in God, through His view, as a human ( what were we meant to be, etc).

So, I guess this focus could be expressed as
“Start Telling The Truth To Yourself”

For me, this is very specific. It involves the old advice of meditating on certain scriptures, giving myself the right “self-talk” such as the fact that I have received the sound mind of Christ. A terrific antidote for the messages through out my life that something is fundamentally wrong with me and that I will follow the mentally unhealthy destiny of the family predisposition to depression.

I don’t have to and I can do something about it.
Oh, there is so much that could be said right here…. but I think the general direction is clear. That is the one I’m going in, and guess what I’m finding out about this? It makes me a better person to be around. YES! Slow to see the results at first, but there are glimmers. I always wanted to make positive impacts on others, but had to come to grips that it doesn’t mean finding out what is wrong as much as encouraging to go towards what is good, improving, right, lovely, and all that. Allllll that. It is scriptural: Philippians 4:8
Funny, it is in this chapter, Philippians 4, that we find

“Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.”

Related, you think? I’m thinking it is.

OK. My resolutions have turned more into focus points, and there is a reason for this. I’m pretty old, and I’ve been at this self improvement thing for a long time…. I am like a constant self improvement obsessive. And despite poor results, I keep trying. To answer your question, I do have a sound mind, thanks. The point of my reason to shift towards focus points is to have longterm efforts that eventually win the day, accomplish the intent. Like the de-cluttering. This is a lifetime change.

Releasing positive thoughts and saying encouraging things are other long term habits to develop, especially for a realist like me. But positive and good things are MORE real than the negatives. They last longer once instituted. Ok- that is something to argue and discuss sometime in the future, this is just writing some notes on personal internal thinking I have.

I have lots of things I want to do this year, so some of the efforts I am making at the head of the year is prioritizing. I think making priorities is especially important for a woman like me. I need to stay on track and there are many voices who like to say my time is less important than theirs. Because I’m a woman, because I don’t have a “real job”, and because I like to take time for people and be flexible. But what I am finding is that there is a real need for people like me in the world. We are at a premium, and part of what I want to do is value myself along with valuing others more, too. To see holistically, and how we all matter in different ways.

I want to grow into being a nice old lady. Not every young bitch gets to do that ( sorry, but that is the language that applied). But I look forward to being able to be better as I age. It will depend on being serious about my goals, intentions, and convictions.

This year will include prayer,but I think it will be supercharged with certain additives. I want to explore the gifts that operate with prayer, and partner together for prayer in different ways. That has been happening anyway, and I hope to co-operate more fully with that. 2010 was like climbing a long hill. I got stronger, but it wasn’t easy. For 2011, I’d like to grow wings, but I’m not sure that is in the works… maybe just enjoy the journey more and continue giving up the need to control. That is the final focus I leave you all with. If I make an official list of resolutions, they will get posted. Until then, I wish all my readers the best and most inspirational of years. I’m looking forward to 2011 as it unfolds.

Oh, and if you want to listen to the Ittybiz video, here is the link– there are GD and F-bomb words on the topic of making a blogging business.
Photo credit: clarita from morguefile.com

Priorities for Next Year

Every year I make priorities with varied levels of success in implementing them. This year reconnecting with family, increasing garden efforts (including growing food again), seriousness about decluttering were all at the top of the list. I have made some successful progress in all of them, but in looking ahead at what I want to prioritize for the next year one will move to the top: decluttering. Next year, I have decided that a real effort in hospitality is going to take a new place in how I want to live my life. Decluttering is intrinsic to accomplishing that.

I once had numerous events and casual get-togethers here, but remodeling my old house and then the overwhelming efforts of helping my grandmother, mom, and dad intervened. It is now rare for me to have people come to share a meal at my house. Then coming across the Reluctant Entertainer, and reading what she had to say made me realize that I want this to be a part of my life again. It will take preparation and planning. So, if I start now, I can realize this in my life in 2011- I know it!

I also should edit this to add that a video from Gourmet.com was also influential. In part of a segment about the Gypsy culture of Andalusia, Spain… the sheer joy of their meal preparation and the vocalized importance of the social gathering around a meal ( ditto France, Italy, and other such cultures), caused me to realize that this is part of how we ought to live our lives. The fast food, eat-on-the-run way of getting our nutrition is a starved, insipid way to treat one of the major matters of both fueling and experiencing life.

see what I mean:
Flavor of Flamenco

Resolution Check-in

It is the end of the first month. So, how am I doing so far?

Let’s see…what were my resolutions, exactly?

  1. get healthier and lose weight
  2. reread ‘Boundaries’ by Cloud and Townsend
  3. It is time to cultivate relationships that bear good fruit.
  4. more time into my garden
  5. My children will receive the first cut of my time.

Ok. #1… I have been regular(3x weekly) about going to Curves all month. Except for last week when I only went twice. I felt a difference in strength, but the weight is stubborn. I did make a plan to not worry so much about the actual pound amount until I have been in this for a couple months… I am cutting back on sugary foods and butter, etc. so this is is a “so far so good” assessment on the getting healthy resolution. And I have taken my vitamins more…just not regularly.

#2 Was reminded about this, but haven’t been out to the store to buy my new copy. I think I should order it from Amazon- it would probably take the same amount of time-given my procrastination. So I can’t check this one off yet.

#3 Wow. This is the hard one. The family I was born into has become more toxic than ever… and they are loathe to let their scapegoat go….. just a few more burdens for us… just this…just take responsibility for that. But I did get a nice letter from a dear Uncle… he is planning to visit this year. So that is good. My family’s actions are so depressing it has been hard to function well, but it is a down rather than out ( although there are days I feel close) situation. I think I will have to think of some concrete plan of action. Sort of like “This week I will….” I wouldn’t hate phone calls so much if I had more of the positive kind and less of the burdensome kind. I have made excuses all month for why I don’t go to the midweek meetings. Time to deal with that.
So far I have to rate this as “failure” so far, but the year is still new.

#4 Gardening… internet style, yes, I’ve done more of that. It turned terribly cold during the usual January thaw time, so once it warms again I am intending, anyway, to prune. We’ll see. I can’t start seeds yet, too early. I’ll give this a half and half, given the weather conditions.

#5 I have given them more attention, but I wouldn’t say I am centering my thought process in the way I resolved. I took baby steps in this one…but baby steps are something. Soon I will be spending a little time helping my eldest after she gives birth to her first baby. Just some support to ensure some rest and good meals and hugs! She was the first born and in our family that meant she is well-trained in the practical art of mothering. I think the demands of pregnancy were a surprise to her, though.

So. I have made faltering progress, but my motivation is staying strong. I am happy that there is forward momentum. Especially happy that I broke the dread of exercise barrier. I did have some of the stiffness and effects of exercising this sluggardly body, but all in all I feel some strength returning, and well not the energizer bunny yet, I do feel I perked up a bit, physically.

So I give me a small yay!

I think I should add some resolutions to the list…. sub resolutions you might call them. One is to practice gratefulness more, including doing the Thankful Thursday posts. I think I should start listing the “praise reports“. One of which happened at Christmas. My son has a friend who is a chef. He came by with so much meat and fish that we had to go out and buy a freezer ( Our old one had gone kaput several years ago, now). I looked up a recipe on the Curves site ( mycurves. com- you have to be a member to enter it, though) for Rosemary-Lemon Halibut skewers. Doesn’t that sound wonderful?
I praise the Heavenly Father’s provision for us, even though we were not looking for or asking for anything like what He decided to bless us with. My family had grilled steaks the day after Christmas…. all of us! It was something very special.