A Daydream with Action Steps

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
— Authority Figure

Oh how that question used to make me sweat! My answer would include some bumbling and then a generic response catered to the person asking the question. Not inspiring, not 100% true and definitely not me. And when I was asked about myself in 10 years?! Forget it. I probably would have fainted. But now, now those are my favorite types of questions. 

For one thing, I figured out that I have way more control of my life than I thought I did in my early 20's. I moved across the country just to experience something different (a.k.a. winter) and then moved back to Texas for the wonderful and trying journey that was grad school- two experiences I'm fortunate to have had! 

It was during my second year in D.C. that I was asked what my vision for my life was, 10 years down the road. The woman asking me wasn't looking for any particular answer; she was essentially asking me where I wanted to be and what I wanted to be doing in 10 years so we could work backwards from there. It was my very first experience with goal coaching. I was so intrigued by this idea that I could truly shape my future by breaking the big picture into small, achievable steps to take. 

Some people tell me that they get stuck with the idea of imagining their life in 10 years. I remind them that your vision can change and it will probably change as your grow. It doesn't mean it was a bad vision- or a good one- just that your vision has changed. As you start taking on your goals, you find out, "hey maybe this isn't for me." Just like that, your vision shifts. My 10 year vision today is very different than when I first started the practice, but then- so am I.

When you're creating your vision, don't take it too seriously, think of it like the best daydream you've ever had- a daydream that you can make a reality! Use all of your senses: What do you hear (or don't you hear) where you are in 10 years? Who is with you? What can you touch? What food and drink will you enjoy? Are you smiling? I sure am! If you'd like some help creating this vision- or maybe want to break it down in to steps, reach out! It can be daunting, so it's important to remember 1) what's important to you (what your values are); 2) No one has to see it (only share if you want to) and 3) your vision is a daydream with action steps.

So! If you want to (see #2 above), share your 10 year vision below. I'll post mine too.


A New year and a new list of goals

Ahh January, the calendar's reminder that to-do lists can be exciting. I love it! With so many amazing people posting their goals and resolutions, it's hard to keep mine quiet (which I considered doing this year). I adore Hallie's sky's-the-limit list and so appreciate Nicole's approachable break-down of her monthly goals. So today I'll share with you my big picture vision for 2016, and will check in with you each month with an update, a la Nicole.

In 2016 I will:

  • Floss! This needs no explanation, but a lot of discipline.
  • Clear up my skin. This is kind of an umbrella goal encompassing cleaner eating, getting plenty of sleep and drinking lots of water. It's been frustrating and humbling and also kind of cool (nerd alert!) to see how quickly my skin responds to what's going on in my life (and in to my diet).
  • I will be published on three of my favorite websites: Pretty Damned Fast, Man Repeller and Camille Styles. Part two of this is to guest blog for some of my blog crushes, yeah- I'm looking at you (again), Nicole.
  • Host themed dinner parties. I have this wonderful vision I visit repeatedly of friends gathered around a supper table: the candles are burning low, the glasses are never empty, and the stories and laughter go on long into the night. We get our supper table this month, and I can't wait to have our first dinner. Also, Harry Potter's birthday (35th!) is in July... so that's a pretty solid reason to have a dinner party.
  • Go on a babes-on-bikes camping trip. With so many great camping grounds near by, and with so many incredible women in the cycling community it would be silly not to combine the two.
  • With the help of friends, we will landscape our yard with Texas friendly plants and trees. Part two of this is to sit out on our deck and enjoy said yard.
  • I will walk the dogs more, because their wagging tails are worth more than plopping down on the couch right after work.
  • I will host two goal setting/budgeting workshops. I'm co-hosting one this weekend at The Paper & Craft Pantry. It sold out right away (amazing!) but there will be others. While you're here, though. Bookmark that site- Pei offer's some really incredible workshops and I don't want you to miss out!
  • I will learn more than one song on my violin. This is kind of like flossing for me- disciplining myself to practice at home. The reward is so worth it! Plus, I rrreaally want to play Hedwig's theme.
  • I will grow this sweet community of Hello, Clementine! readers to 100. Give me a shout about what you'd like to see on here as well as any suggestions.
  • I will stop talking about and start writing my children's book. This is actually the last time I will write anything about it, unless I have exciting news. That's the deal I made with myself. I can only talk about it if I've worked on it that day. 

And there you have it. My shiny to-do list for 2016. I'd love to read yours either in the comments or here if you wanna keep it private. If you need some coaching or someone to help hold you accountable, let's talk! Goals are best celebrated with friends!


The Written Century or the Year of 100 Pages

They say that in order to become a great writer, one must be a great reader.  I don't know who "they" are, but I've heard it enough- and from authors I admire- that I believe it to be true. It's no secret that reading, in addition to my husband and our chuys, is a great love of mine. So this advice, to read more, is something I've happily taken to heart.

There's only one problem: I've been reading, yes. But not writing. I'm 9 books away from completing my 100 book challenge for 2015. And 0 books in to my own book (and the subsequent series). Meanwhile, the writing I have done has not furthered that particular goal of mine, aside from some spontaneous bursts of productivity and some weird storyboard sketches.

I know that goals are most powerful when they can be measured- saying I will write more next year sounds pretty ho-hum, right? So instead I'll tell you that in 2016 I'll write 100 pages to be published. That means if I do it right, I'll have several pieces a month to submit to Man Repeller's Writers Club AND make some serious progress on this book (that I've been talking about writing for years)! At the very least, I'm looking forward to growing my body of work and seeing how I can challenge myself each week.

To keep myself accountable, I'll share what I'm up to here of course. And hopefully this time next year I'll have a sneak peak of a book so sweet you'll get it for your niece, with art so cool you'll snag one for yourself too! 

If you want to partake in the year of 100 pages, let me know! We can share prompts and motivate one another when 500 words is 498 words too many. This doesn't have to be for just writers, either. All are welcome to create their own century!

Just Practice Your Freakin' Violin*

*I originally titled this "On Habits and Happiness," but let's call a spade a spade and just move on.

Habits are the unsung heroes of goals, if you ask me. Want a killer smile? Better develop the habit of consistent flossing. Want to publish a book? Create a habitual routine of writing, drawing, or photographing every day so you can have content for that book. What should I do if I want to play Hedwig's Theme on the violin by Christmas? Yep- practice my freakin' violin. Consistently. 

Unfortunately, this post won't tell you how to create good habits (or how to drop the bad ones.) I'm more interested in your habits- the good, the bad, and the funny. And then I'd like to know if you've developed any habits that have brought you happiness.  

I'm asking because I'm working my way through Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin. She wrote The Happiness Project, a book that came into my life one Christmas when I really needed some happiness. So I figured, why not pick up her book on habits while I'm working on creating some strong ones of my own? She does a pretty good job of explaining some of the behavioral science behind habits (forming and maintaining,) and I was intrigued by how good habits correlate with happiness.

If you need me, I'll be working my way through another round of Twinkle Twinkle. As Drake said: started from the bottom, now we're here.

Let's Shift Again, Like We Did Last Summer

Hi Friday! You sure are lookin' good and it's not just the coffee talking.  I hope it's shaping up to be a great day for you guys too!

 I know several people who are either getting their kids ready to start school again, or have already taken those first day of school pictures. It's true that I'm pretty removed from that ritual now, and that my Augusts are pretty calm compared to those I used to spend in the aisles of Target and Office Depot. But I can still feel the shift that happens in August- it's still very much summer just a little quieter. When I think of summer nights in August, they drenched in gold and slow as honey. Do they feel like that for you too?

The to-do lists start to change also. Instead of trips and parties, they shift inward a little. Getting the home ready for the cooler months because... Winter is coming! Maybe you're like me and you've already started planning for Christmas. Just me? Cool. August, to me, is the gentle nudge to get back to work. The evenings are still long enough to sit outside with friends and a cold beverage, but change is definitely in the air.

My friend Nicole does this neat thing of setting small goals each month and reviewing her goals from the previous month. I think this is so great because it's not a check list of tasks, but nuggets that will bring joy and get you a little closer to your big goals. You could say hey, August is half-way over... what gives?! OR you could say- this is great! I still have 2 weeks to prepare for my September small goals. AND if you're feeling wild, you still have time in August. Are there any mini goals you have percolating?

My goals for August and September involve a lot of home-work. We played in our new house all summer and now it's time to slow down and really turn it into a home. We're building beds and getting a dinning room table that fits more than 2! 

Have a wonderful weekend friends. Share an extra smile or two with a stranger.