One Phrase to Redefine You in 2018


There are many things to organize other than the things in our houses. 

If you take a look around some of these posts, you may notice that organizing my LIFE is equally important to me as organizing my kitchen cabinets is. 

I am CONSTANTLY searching for balance. Balance between work and relaxing, balance between staying in and going out, balance between personal needs and the needs of others. 

And while time management and health are things that we’re probably all thinking about anyway. What about organizing our thoughts? Feelings? Attitudes? Honestly, this is one of those areas where people usually say “I just am who I am and I can’t change it”! That saying drives me crazy! 

Of course, there are some built-in personality traits… But for the most part, You are whoever you decide to be and you CAN change it. I am a firm believer in mind over matter. I believe that we can do, think, feel, act, and react however we choose. 

I believe this for (at least) three reasons:



Reason #1: When I was in elementary/middle school, I used to be insanely shy. Like, so shy that I would start crying if the teacher asked me a question in Sunday School. In front of a small group of girls. That I saw every week. And I am talking panic attack level, here. 

Today: I can still be quiet(ish) but I have no problem talking to people. I don’t even mind public speaking… in fact, I even enjoy it!

Why? Because I simply decided to be something else. 


Reason #2: When I was in high school, I was the worst. student. ever. Do you hear me? EVER. I was always failing at least one class (usually math), I would copy someone else’s homework 24 seconds before we had to turn it in, and I NEVER knew when we had tests. Tests!

I studied (read) for a test once and it turned out to be the wrong chapter. My teacher and classmates thought it was hilarious. Being a bad student kind of became my identity in high school, so I just went with it. Worst if all? I didn’t even have a planner! (Oh, the horror!)

Today: I have multiple (color-coded) planners. I NEVER miss a deadline. In fact, I remind others about deadlines. I mades straight A’s in college, and I finished grad school with a 4.0 GPA. I even made an A in a math class for the first time ever! 

So what changed? How did I go from being the girl that was never prepared to the girl who was overly prepared? 

I simply decided to be something else. 


Reason #3: Senior year, I took a Mock Trial class and decided that I LOVED law! I loved the research. I loved reading through scenarios and pulling out the rule of law that applied. I loved Elle Woods (obviously)! I declared my major Legal Studies during my first semester of college and never looked back.

But guess what? When I started to actually work for attorneys, I HATED it. I hated being inside all day. I hated the nonstop calls. I hated it that I didn’t actually get to interact with people… everything was mostly over the phone. And I hated sitting at a desk all day. 

Today: I am in my seventh year of teaching Kindergarten, and I couldn’t be happier! I still get to do research but I also get to run around, use silly voices, give hugs, draw, go outside, and do a million different things with my students. I love everything about my job!

I’m SO GLAD I simply decided to DO SOMETHING ELSE! 


So, if you have an area of your life that you’re currently unhappy with, I think you know what to do! One of my favorite quotes is “never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.”! 



What area of your life would like to commit to changing in this new year? 

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How to Create Long Term Goals

If you’ve been reading this blog for a few months, you know that when my life slows down, my writing slows down, too. Summer break and winter break are the hardest times for me to write… because I’m not busy enough, if that makes any sense. Around the beginning of the new year, I decided to dedicate the first 6 weeks of 2015 focusing on my career (aka finding a new teaching job in a new city). And I planned on writing about cover letters and resumes and what to wear to interviews, etc. I did a ton of research. I pinned a bunch of articles (you can find them all here).

I read them all. I took notes. And then I realized “there’s no need for me to say any of this. I’d just be repeating everything that’s already been said in these articles”. So, I didn’t write a post about the perfect interview or resume or whatever. HOWEVER, I did spend quite a lot of time doing something that wasn’t in ANY of these posts! So, that’s what I’m going to write about today:

TAKE SOME TIME TO THINK ABOUT WHERE YOU WANT YOUR CAREER TO GO.

I recently started this new “track” on Happify called Find Your Calling and the very first exercise in it was one where you write about your perfect daily routine. NOT your perfect job. But your perfect routine. Like, what do you see your days looking like in the future? The craziest thing about this activity was that it was SO easy! Even though you may not be completely sure about what you WANT to do… you probably have a pretty good idea of what you want your days to look like. Doing this activity motivated me to keep going on my quest of finding my perfect career!

1. Spend 20 minutes writing your 20-year goals

This past weekend, I set a timer for 20 minutes and wrote down what I want my career to look like 20 years from now. I just typed it into a Word documents. I wrote it quickly and messy. I didn’t care about grammar or punctuation or even if I sounded like a normal person. So, if you’re feeling stressed out and overwhelmed about the future, just take 20 minutes and write down anything and everything that you can. Once I finished writing what I wanted to be doing 20 years from now, I reset the timer for 10 minutes and wrote about what I want to be doing in 10 years. Go big here, btw!

“Create the highest, grandest vision possible for your life, because you become what you believe.” -Oprah Winfrey



2. Cut that time in half and do it again… and again… and again…

Because I am slightly more obsessive than most people, I continued this at every halfway mark (including 15 months and 7 1/2 months). You could just go with something traditional like “1 year” and “6 months”. Another thing I did that was helpful was to begin every new time period by writing “In ___ years, it will be the year ___ and I will be ___ years old”. Another thing I did that was super helpful was to find someone I admired who was already that age. Sometimes age seems pretty vague and it’s difficult to know what to expect, so seeing it in someone else’s life makes it easier.

3. Read through and pull out your concrete goals

Once I had all of my things written in a Word document, I went back and pulled out the phrases and keywords that I could actually turn into goals. For example, “involve parents in classroom activities through class website, newsletter, and volunteer opportunities”. Those are all pretty concrete things that I can really make happen in my classroom. Or “certified professional organizer”, well… that’s pretty clear. I pulled out the things that were super specific like that and actually wrote them down on a piece of paper. I continued to do this at every checkpoint until I eventually got down to “today”.

4. Do 4 things today that will move you towards your goals

At the “today” space, I just made a square space big enough for a Post-It. Each day, I write down 4 tasks that will help me reach the goals. NOT big tasks at all, either! Sending 1 e-mail to someone or printing off 1 document counts. Literally, 4 small and doable tasks every day. It doesn’t feel or sounds like much which is why below it I wrote this quote:

“Great things are done by a series of small things coming together.” -Vincent Van Gogh

The future is a scary and magnificent thing! It’s easy to let it come and go and dream about the things that we could have done OR we can decide today to attack it head on and spend each day purposefully making it the best we can! Which brings me to another quote I love:

“Put on lipstick and attack!” -Coco Chanel 

How to Actually Accomplish Your Goals

HAPPY NEW YEAR, everyone! I am so super excited about this year. I don’t know what it is but for some reason, I just love odd-numbered years (weeeirdo). So, of course, I pretty much live for the beginning of January. It’s the time of year when everyone gets really into setting new goals and organizing everything! The stores are absolutely FILLED with organizational bins and containers (and I break out into my Happy Feet dance whenever I reach the “seasonal” section of Target)!
 

 

This is also the time when EVERYONE is interested in setting goals and doing things better in the new year! Last January, I wrote a 31-day series (yes, I actually finished that one) about goal setting. I found a ton of great resources (they’re listed at the bottom of each post). Today I’m just going to do an abridged, skimming-over version of that series. using some of America’s most common resolutions.

According to us.gov, these are some of the most common New Year’s resolutions that we make year after year:

Common Resolution: Lose Weight
Turn it into something like this: I will lose 10 pounds by December 2014 by working out 30 minutes each day and doubling the amount of vegetables that I eat each day. 

(by the way, if this really IS your goal, check out: Tone It Up)



Common Resolution: Volunteer
Turn it into something like this: I will volunteer 72 hours by December by spending 6 hours a month working in the kitchen at the Mission

(by the way, if this really IS your goal, check out: Volunteer Match)



Common Resolution: Better Education/Grades
Turn it into something like this: I will submit my grad school application by January 15 by working on it for 4 hours next weekend. 

(by the way, if this really IS your goal, check out this list of resources for college students… aaand while you’re at it, you can just head over to the Organized Studying page!)



Common Resolution: Get a Better Job
Turn it into something like this: I will have a job (doing whatever you want to do) by August 1 by submitting a new resume packet to a different company every 2 weeks. 

(by the way, if this really IS your goal, check out: The Daily Muse)



Common Resolution: Save Money/Manage Debt
Turn it into something like this: I will save $1800 by December by putting $150 into my savings account every month. 

(by the way, if this really IS your goal, check out: Mint)



Common Resolution: Manage Stress
Turn it into something like this: I will become more relaxed and mindful by December by writing down 10 things I’m thankful for every morning, taking a 30-minute walk outside every day after work, and staying off screens (phone, iPad, computer, TV) between 10PM-6AM. 

(by the way, if this really IS your goal, check out: Happify and Zen Habits)



Common Resolution: Take a Trip
Turn it into something like this: I will take a trip to the Dominican Republic in May by putting $500 into a “vacation fund” every month. 

(by the way, if this IS your goal, check out this list of helpful travel-planning sites)



Common Resolution: Reduce Clutter/Get Organized
Turn it into something like this: I will reduce the amount of items in each closet by 30% by December by going through 1 closet each Saturday and removing 1 of every 3 items every month. 

(by the way, if this IS your goal, check out: Project Organize Your Entire Life and Unclutterer)



See how goals just sound more achievable when we make them super specific? Like, it’s no longer this broad ambiguous thing that you hope happens to you this year. Instead, it’s something that you’re taking control of and working for! When resolutions are super vague, they might as well be wishes. Accomplishing new goals takes a lot of planning (YAY!), discipline, sacrifice, effort, and doing a lot of things that look really boring when they’re written on a daily to-do list (read chapter 5, for example).

Just keep your big goal in mind while you’re working through those tedious to-do lists. And be prepared to work hard and to sacrifice things that would be fun right now and probably to be broke (if you’re saving up for a vacation or paying grad school tuition). So, here is my last little bit of advice before you begin your fresh, new year! Choose to focus on 1 goal at a time and reeeally work to make it a habit before throwing another goal into the mix.

Once you’re working out daily, or you’re in the habit of cooking a healthy dinner every night, then you can start on the resume sending-out, you know? Don’t try to start all of your goals at once or you’ll just set yourself up for the F word (which is “Failure“, obviously).

So, good luck and remember that it’s 2015 and everything is awesome! 🙂

What are your goals for 2015? Did you accomplish the ones that you set for yourself last year? Also, can you think of any resources that I should add for the topics above? I know there have got to be a ton of great apps/websites that I don’t know about!