life is a gift. let it be lush.
enjoy every damn minute!

little plan for achieving big goals (little ones too)

Posted: June 15th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: inspiration, life in general | 1 Comment »

…according to me, anyway. this may not work for everyone but from personal experience I find the four steps below to be the simplest yet most powerful formula for achieving many types of goals.

about 6 years ago I decided I wanted to move out of the state I lived in. I was bored and miserable and felt I had given it a fair shot. It just wasn’t the place for me, even though I rather liked my job at the time. I was there for 6 years and it was time to make a break for it.

my goals? I wanted to be happy, in a place that was near the ocean, in a warm climate, and not too far from family. I wanted a place to learn and be creative. I needed more connection with people closer to my age and lifestyle. I was also single at the time.

So, I chose a place to go according to my criteria. I updated my resume. I collected a big handful of links where I could regularly search for job listings and apartments for rent. I created cover letters, organized folders on my computer to store everything, and committed several hours per week to searching and sending. I did a little each day.

I had NO CLUE how this would all turn out. I just knew I needed a big change to be happy. and I knew I had to do SOMETHING to make it happen. I also had absolute faith and confidence that I would eventually get there (where ever ‘there’ was). I felt fearless. I was going for it and I would succeed! This attitude was absolutely essential to my motivation, and commitment to my goal.

The result of my consistent first action steps would eventually lead me to something better than I imagined. I met my husband online, got a higher-paying job, and moved only one state away from my original destination! Each step I took led me to the next, and the next, and so on. So I didn’t need to know everything right off the bat.

here’s how I break it down:

  1. determine your ‘destination,’ where you want to end up – how do you want to feel, ultimately? do you want to be in a different place physically as well as mentally? and what are the circumstances that will make this feeling possible? write all this down in as much detail as possible. sights, sounds, smells, people/places involved, your ideal typical day.
  2. have some vague outline of a plan to get there – it doesn’t have to be perfect and you may not know all the details involved until you start doing the very first steps and working your way through. but at least figure out the details for your first few steps. do the research and determine how to begin on your particular path, even if you don’t know exactly where these first steps will lead you. don’t worry about that yet. and, literally, write all this down too. or type it, or draw pictures, or lay it out like a treasure map!
  3. DO that first step! – seriously start taking action. do a little every day or every other day, but DO it. make the time. wake up 30 minutes earlier and get something done. do it in little chunks. or big chunks. even break that step down into smaller steps to make it less overwhelming. then do one little thing each day. don’t worry about the end result, just DO!
  4. be flexible, open to other possibilities – it may turn out that your plan leads you down a new, unexpected path at some point. be open to this, see where it goes, and then determine whether it works for you, makes you happy, still takes you to that place you need to be. be open to changes and willing to explore each new possibility. you’ll know if it feels right or not, but always be open to it.

Another couple things I should throw in are visualization and attitude.

keep your goal in mind, make it real: visualize in great detail exactly where you want to be as if you’re already there. add sights, sounds, smells, people, place, etc., to your mental picture. make it all real in your mind. see yourself there anytime you stop and think about it, try to ‘see’ it at least once every day.

trust in the process, have faith and confidence in yourself. know that YOU WILL SUCCEED. tell yourself that you already have! most of all, BE FEARLESS! …and that reminds me of a quote I love…

“If we did all the things we were capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.” Thomas Alva Edison

so go on, Astound Yourself.

writing this post was for my own motivation as well as yours, if you’re reading this. I have some goals to achieve (who doesn’t?!). this is my reminder to get off my ass and follow my own advice. so off i go…

World Oceans Day 2012: the celebration starts at home

Posted: June 8th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: environment, life in general | Comments Off on World Oceans Day 2012: the celebration starts at home

here’s a question, would we even have a World Oceans Day or celebrate our oceans at all if they weren’t so threatened? I would hope so. wouldn’t it be wonderful to find out?

to celebrate today I share a few things you can do at home to help our beautiful, bountiful oceans…

stop using plastic bags: we banned these completely in my house and only use re-useable bags for everything from groceries and produce to clothes shopping and farmer’s markets. I even drag them into the Home Depot if we’re getting smaller items. I personally love Chico Bags. we have a large collection and keep lots of them in our cars, near the door, in my backpack, etc. they stuff into tiny little pouches so they’re easy to carry.

eat organic: another big one for me. we try to find everything organic when possible, especially fruits and vegetables. even our garden is mostly organic (it wasn’t always possible to find organic starter plants and we didn’t have time to start everything from organic seeds this year). pesticides and fertilizers are not only harmful to our bodies, but the toxins running into our oceans also harm marine life.

use less plastic: this is difficult, I know. but also possible. and if you must use plastic that can’t be reused then try to use plastics that are recycled in your community, and make sure they actually hit the recycle bin! our city only recycles #1 and #2 plastics. and I’ve noticed a few food companies recently that have converted their packaging to fully recyclable. I also only use non-disposable silverware and real coffee mugs, and never ever use styrofoam. my next step is bringing my own tupperware for restaurant leftovers.

clean with natural cleaners: your home and your body. typical household cleaners and soaps are big contributors to ocean/water pollution. in our house we love Dr. Bronner’s organic soaps for hands, showers and dishes. we’re still searching for a good laundry soap and all-purpose household cleaner. but we use vinegar in our laundry rinse cycle and for some cleaning jobs around the house. check out these household cleaner recipes!

for more ideas see the Smithsonian’s Ocean Portal, and go celebrate!

scuba diving 101 [bloop..bloop…]

Posted: June 5th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: life in general | Comments Off on scuba diving 101 [bloop..bloop…]

went scuba diving (in a pool) one night last week with W. It was so cool. we had Groupons for it, kind of an intro to scuba diving. we’ve never done it before. once I got used to the breathing I was so relaxed and amazed. it’s cool knowing you can breathe under water and float around like a fish. had fins on and everything. focusing on the rhythm of my breathing was almost like meditation.

my only problem seemed to be my ears. maybe next time I’ll be able to hit the deep end without agonizing pain. I practically grew up in the water but could never master the art of popping my ears. it also may have been the fact that I still had the tail end of a cold.

I’d love to take the courses and get certified one day. I’ll add that to my life checklist. for now though, it’s nice to have had the experience. it brings to mind images of coral reefs, colorful fish and blue-green waters, and the feeling of floating among all those things. soft and quiet, only hearing your breath bubbles…

my Too Manys

Posted: March 5th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: life in general | 1 Comment »

my brain has been a bit scattered for a long time now. I feel like there are too many things vying for my attention and focus. things that I really like and also things I have absolutely no use for. below is my list.

too many emails/e-newsletters saved for later that I never read
fix: unsubscribe. pick a few I really need and will definitely read and keep them. ONLY them. and stop subscribing to lists that just want to sell me stuff! I’ve realized most emails from retail companies (clothes, electronics, the latest weekly deal, etc.) are a waste of my time unless I’m truly in the market for a particular product. otherwise they just send me off on random consumerist goose chases. not to mention I have to take my very important time to open them, read them and then file or delete them. waste, waste, waste…

too many lists – on sticky notes, business cards, and notepad files, even on old papers and envelopes I have packed away in boxes that I keep thinking about from time to time
fix: carry a Book or use my Evernote (get a smartphone to use this too!). write everything here. add the stuff from long ago if I really need it and throw it out, or just throw it out. get my shit organized!

too many to-dos in my head
fix: add them to the above list and get them out of my head as soon as possible. if I forget them before I write them down they weren’t worth remembering anyway… at least I’ll tell myself that.

too many great things/events/ideas I don’t have time to pursue
fix: write them down for later. reassess these things every few months, or whenever. ask myself Am I really still interested in this? Do I REALLY want to do/learn/research/read this?? if I’m organized enough I’ll be able to get to it if it’s something of true value to me.

too many bills to pay at too many different times during the month
fix: pick a day and pay them all, at least the ones that aren’t on autopay. this will save me some thinking. get bank accounts to the point where I have enough to do this each month. and combine debt where possible. one less annoyance to deal with each month.

too many things I don’t need (clutter!)
fix: get rid of stuff. Goodwill, garbage, friends, recycle, freecycle, etc. just get rid of it and pack what’s left (for our future move). this goes back to the organizing thing. we hope to move in May which, you would think, should motivate me to get it together already. this will also serve to declutter my head. I know because I’ve done it before and it’s liberating!

too many minutes wasted on so many things
fix: make my minutes count. turn the TV off! listen to my little voice more often. usually it’s telling me to finish my motivation course, or draw, or read, or meditate, or do anything more constructive. anything that gets me closer to having the life I really want.

too many fears holding me back or making me worry
fix: stop it! ya, it’s not that easy I guess. but by doing all the things I should be doing with my time, the valuable, constructive, fulfilling things, I should have less time to worry and fear. I don’t have a clear solution to this one yet but that may change if I can get everything else organized.

too many things I really WANT to do for myself each day – but I either forget or run out of time or just plain don’t feel like doing them
fix: don’t beat myself up. I’d like to meditate, eat the perfect diet, exercise, learn something new, get important things done, paint or draw, and many other little things that supposedly lead to a long, fulfilling, rewarding, happy life. But I can’t! at least not yet. for now, though, I’ll start with a list (another list!) of all these things and track progress by the week instead of the day. Get a little exercise, see how many days I can get in this week, and then the next. Maybe make a commitment to draw/paint at least three times a week. Same with the diet. If I can pack extra fruits and vegetables into each of my meals 4 days per week I’ll consider that an improvement…some days I’m just not into it. I intend for these things to be everyday habits at some point but this will have to do for now. yet another case for getting organized.

too many goals put off for later
fix: pick my favorites and make a damn plan! do something, however small, every day toward my goals. pick the most important ones and find a way to fit them in. my motivation course is helping me with this, currently. It’s been somewhat successful, hence this long-awaited blog post. my biggest , most important goal is to work for myself doing something I love, and to quit my J-O-B.

you’ve no doubt noticed that organization seems to be the theme here. and writing this post has me more motivated now to go home and get it together. because not only does organizing and decluttering get all my THINGS in order, it also tends to clear my mind. I’ve experienced this in small scale several times in my life so I know it works. it allows me to tackle more things on the goals list, conquer some of my fears, keep other areas of my life organized, and leap tall buildings in a single bound. really.