Personal Development Success and Failure

I think there’s something really important in trial and error. It teaches us that having desires alone won’t get us where we want to go; we have to maintain motivation throughout the entire journey if we want to succeed. I don’t believe that leaving a goal incomplete is a bad thing as long as you made an effort in some way.

Did I make thirty-one entries in my journal or on my blog? No, but I brought conscious thought to the idea of writing and keeping myself accountable in other ways. To me, that isn’t failure.

However, I do want to continue the mindset of having short and long-term goals and holding myself accountable to moving to reach them. Pausing, inching forward, and dead sprinting are all acceptable; moving backward is not.

At the beginning of the year I set monthly goals for myself both here and in my bullet journal. That’s a practice I miss. I’d like to continue that through the end of the year as a way of “checking in” on my long-term goals to ensure I’m on the right track. These goals usually range from professional, personal, and financial, and completing even one per month is a success to me. Stay tuned.

Do you have a favorite way of keeping track of goals? Do you use sticky notes on your bathroom mirror, journal about them, or just keep them mentally? I’d love to hear others’ ways of keeping track of their personal development!

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February Goals

I’m very happy to announce that in January I completed 8/10 of my planned goals. Not only did I successfully do the 10 I set out to, I also made great progress in creating lasting habits for my health and well-being. It isn’t important which goals I did or did not meet, what matters most is that I was able to achieve more than I thought I would for the month. 

With that being said, I decided on my February goals. I have less on my list this month, and some are the same or slightly different, while some are new. Although I’m doing a lot of focusing on the short-term goals, I haven’t forgotten about the long term; many of my goals I set intentionally to get into the habit of doing it, so I can eventually turn around and utilize them for a longterm plan. An example would be more exercise: someday I want to comfortably complete a full marathon. I can’t do that without consistent running and training (and diet!!) every day. Another would be my writing: four blog posts a month at minimum gives me the practice and experience to someday get paid for writing.  “I want to learn everything I can, and write down everything I see. Golly says if I want to be a writer, I’d better start now…”

  • Publish 4 blog posts
  • Read 4 books
  • Work out 4 days a week
  • Put (and keep) money in savings
  • Continue to clean and de-clutter
  • No soda

I feel good. These may seem like more “to-do” list items, but they mean more than that to me. These goals mean working to become a better person, both physically and mentally. I want to learn, I want to feel stable, I want to feel strong. I’m so ready to be the best I can be. This month I also want to sit down and seriously begin to plan out my long-term life goals, and I’ll be sure to write about it when I know more myself. 

The Bullet Journal

For way too long I’ve struggled with craving organization in my scheduling; although “organized” is the last word I would use to describe myself, I know I need structure. Every year I buy the cutest planner to fit my personality and fill it out with important dates and my work schedule. After that I never look at it again. Occasionally I might remember it exists and cross out months that have already passed and leave it to collect dust again.

I’ve decided my problem with traditional planners is that they aren’t flexible. They’re all the same and don’t  work for me. I have dozens of break slips in my pockets with tasks and to-do’s that have a much more linear aesthetic that I prefer. When I sit down to make life plans in a notebook, it gets listed. For me, boxy calendar views are wasteful in the end. I have at least a dozen notebooks scattered around all containing the same information. I need one main journal to keep track of my plans.

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Given my life currently, I don’t have “appointments” or meetings to need to plan in detail.  My work schedule is saved in screenshots in my camera roll so writing them down is useless. My life is tasks and flimsy plans with friends with no time crunch. I need to know what day bills come out and when my dog needs her heart worm medication and when to refill my antidepressant prescription and plan out my running days.

With all of this being realized, I began looking at a lot of posts of bloggers who use bullet journals. It’s been a thought in the back of my mind that I wanted to try the “BuJo” life, but like most people just starting out, I was overwhelmed at the amount of creativity most of the examples had. Still, in my fresh mindset I have decided to jump in.  Maybe it will work for me, maybe it won’t. Still, I want to give it a try. I’m standing by my statement that 2017 is a year of continued growth and logging that in a bullet journal with a more linear task list might just be the way to do it.

In less than 24 hours, I already learned some things I do and do not like and things I want to add or change in the future. I wish my journal was dotted or gridded instead of lined, for one, but I like the size and quality so I’ll survive. Before even starting, I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t compare my journal to the Instagram models; I would allow my bullet journal to grow and evolve with me this year. BuJo would be my friend to learn from week to week and month to month.

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I think that’s my favorite part about the Bullet Journal model: complete freedom. If I try something one week and hate it, I’m not committed to it. I’m in an open relationship with my planner. As I was coming up with my pre-plan, I didn’t think I wanted a daily log. I started off with the blank spread, trying to decide what would work best for me. Then I realized i could do both: on weeks where I know I have a lot going on, I can do a daily log, and on weeks where I’m not doing much, I don’t need to waste the paper. I love the potential lack of waste that comes with this process. If my Thursday is packed, then I’ll do a Thursday log and skip the other days, lumping all my tasks into my weekly tracker.

Some collections that are unique to me are my long-term goals and tasks with no time constraint, things like cleaning out my iTunes library and running a marathon; I have a collection of dreams such as buying a new mattress and getting married; my favorite personal collection is my list of dates I go on, complete with a rating system and where we met. A few collections I added are inspired by others I saw online. Gift ideas, favorites of the season, bills and habit trackers, along with a few others are all a part of my bullet journal.

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Something I plan on gaining from this (besides structure) is strengthening my handwriting. This is a big joke, I know. My handwriting has always been horrendous, but I hope that through. My bullet journal I am able to at least have legible scrawl. In the short time I’ve spent making my first spreads, I’ve found a new acceptance for my lack of artistry and cursive/print hybrid penmanship. I discovered that although it isn’t easy coming up with my own doodles, fonts, or borders, I can copy the basic idea from what I find online and make it fit my needs.

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A trend I’ve noticed in the Bullet Journal community is finding a word to motivate or describe the upcoming year. I didn’t think much of it until I kept using the phrase “year of growth” whether it be in my blog, private journal, or even just my thoughts. I mentioned in my last post that “growth” is the word I plan on returning to throughout the year, and I stand by that. Even in the few short weeks of this year I’ve felt a great sense of growth within my self in many ways and I hope to use my new Bullet Journal to continue that feeling.

If you’re curious about how to start or need more inspiration, Modern Mrs. Darcy has some great posts about her own Bullet Journal and her posts include even more links to great resources. Of course there’s the official Bullet Journal website if you want to learn more from the creator himself. For me, I love the flexibility and casualness of this style of planning and I can see myself using it for a very long time.

January Goals

I could very well write about New Year’s Resolutions and how I plan on maintaining long-term goals throughout the entire year. But we all know how resolutions go, and I hate admitting that I’ve failed at something. Instead of writing about the long-term, I’ve decided to break down my goals into smaller, month-sized pieces and share them as the year goes on. Many of my goals may be the same month to month; this makes it less of a resolution and more of a continuing habit.

With all that being said, here are my goals for January

  • Drink more water
  • Run 3 times a week
  • Lose 5 pounds
  • Complete a “75 Push-up Challenge”
  • Complete my half marathon without dying
  • Enjoy my trip to Disneyland without stressing out about money
  • Continue reducing the items I own
  • Crack down on a good skin care routine
  • Publish at least 4 blog posts
  • Read at least 4 books
  • Maintain a private journal
  • Focus on more photography

I tried to make goals that were diverse. Some are health-related while some are personal goals, and some are just good practices to get into. I spent a lot of December thinking on these and making strides to begin my new habits.

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Both in this blog and in my personal journal I’ve
mentioned that 2017 is the year of growth, and I plan on returning to that word throughout my year. Everything I do this year is all based around personal growth. Expect that to be a reoccurring word in my posts.

What are your thoughts on forming New Year’s Resolutions? Do you stick with them through the entire year or do they fizzle out? How do you separate a “resolution” and making new habits, or is there a difference at all? I’d love to know your opinion on this, and I hope you join me through this year of blogging.

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What Does it Mean to Be Healthy?

I’ve written a lot of posts about rebooting my health goals. Like, a lot. Like here, here, also here, and you get the picture. It’s not that I just stop caring about my health; it just gets hard. Even when I stop eating what’s good for me or lower my activity level, I’m constantly thinking about how good I felt. But let’s be honest with ourselves: “health” isn’t just diet and exercise.

I’ve done a lot of diets and workouts and weigh-ins and measuring and counting. That’s great if that’s what you want or need. To me, my health is not defined by numbers anymore. It also isn’t just about food. Mental health is just as important as physical health.

What does “healthy” mean to me?

  • not biting my nails
  • keeping a consistent schedule
  • hydration
  • not eating only junk food
  • raising my activity level
  • giving myself love and grace
  • not hitting the snooze button

These don’t sound like the epitome of health, do they? But listen, they’re all steps. Having scrambled eggs and sausage for breakfast is better than ice cream (I may or may not have done that yesterday) and even opting out of my daily soda at lunch is a step to making my body happier. Making a turkey sandwich for work instead of stopping by McDonalds saves calories and money–a two-for-one deal!

I’ve never been a “snoozer.” I don’t know what happened recently (actually I do), but I don’t want to get out of bed when I have to. I reset my alarm for a later time and get ready for work at the last minute. I always feel so much better when I just get up and start my day, plus I get to have time to write before work.

Like I said, my health is not defined by numbers. I don’t need to lose a certain number of pounds or eat a certain amount of calories or run this many miles a week. That puts too much pressure and anxiety on me if I don’t meet those numbers. I see nothing wrong with people who need those numeric goals, it definitely works. But that isn’t the best way to motivate me personally. My Fitbit step goal is really the only number I care about.

I’m so incredibly proud of the race medals I’ve earned. Even though I didn’t do as well as I wanted, running a half marathon or a 5k is a huge achievement for anyone. It’s like the quote that says, “No matter how slow you go, you’re still lapping everyone on the couch.” And that’s what I want for myself. Running is so rewarding to me, and after running (mostly walking) a half marathon last November, I got a little taste of the person I could be. I didn’t train like I had wanted to, and that is my biggest regret as far as my health goes. If I could comfortably run three or four miles, that would mean everything to me to be able to work harder for longer races.

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Last night, Enthusiasm asked me how badly I want to meet my goals. It made me think a lot about my past attempts. I won’t call them “failed,” but they were forgotten. Disney costumes are so unflattering, and I’m tired of looking down and seeing my stomach in the pants I wear at work. I know how to dress my body on my own time, but I want to feel better at work. I don’t want to hate myself or feel down about myself for one emotional reason or another. I want pretty fingernails again. I want to be happy and energetic again. Diet, activity, mindset, and consistency are all equal factors to finding peace with myself and my health.

Being healthy, both emotionally and physically, is hard. Creating and keeping healthy habits takes time, but I know just as well as anyone else that it’s so incredibly worth it. So here I am, starting again. I’m picking up where I left off with my health and doing my best to make a better physical and emotional situation for myself.