A Teaspoon of Grace

Photo by ATC Comm Photo from Pexels

Hello. It’s me. I would say I’m back but even saying that is too much of a commitment right now. What I am is here, writing, expressing myself being creative and it feels good. It took me so long to get here, to fight back the negative thoughts, self doubts and soul sucking procrastination but I’m here. There has been so much happening in the world, in my world and the biggest lesson I have learned in the year plus since my last post is GRACE.

Grace for me means that it’s ok to not be ok. It’s to be scared of the unknown, the dark tunnel and what’s around the corner. I slacked off, did everything EXCEPT for the things I should be doing and focusing on and that’s ok. I could have, would have and should have been further along in my life, career, journey, weight loss, finances… whatever and that’s ok.

What I have learned is that motivation is great but it can only take you so far. Motivation will get you to start the journey/project but the minute you fall off or have a bad day, motivation can be a bully in your head filling you mind will with guilt an shame until you quit all together.

This is where grace fits in.

When you give yourself grace it allows you to have those moments or days or even weeks when you cannot get out of your own way. Its hard I know. But grace is the one thing I can give to myself to quiet those negative thoughts and try again. I told myself today, ” you really wanted to write this blog and was so excited about it don’t quit. Do it for yourself, just write 1 post today that’s all and see how it feels.” So here I am writing, and I can honestly say it feels so good.

Grace is different from motivation because it comes from a place of love not obligation.

When you practice grace for oneself it is practice self care and self love.

What I’m not going to do is commit myself to writing EVERY SINGLE DAY, NO EXCUSES. Hard pass chief. I’m not going to do that to myself, and you shouldn’t do it to yourself either.

Where are there some areas in your life that you can give yourself grace? Instead of forcing yourself to working out every day how about 2 times a week? Or maybe find a youtube fitness video that’s only 10 mins long. If you don’t like to run, then don’t run. Try jump roping, hiking, bike riding, roller skating anything that gets your heart rate up.

If you miss a day or 2 or 3 its ok, the world isn’t going to end I promise. When we read about successful people and all the hard work it took for them to become successful its not because they are hyper motivated and organized. They gave themselves grace and the grace is what kept them going. When one idea did not work, it was grace that gave them the ability to see their mistakes and shift gears.

I invite you all to give yourself a dose of grace everyday, just a teaspoon will do and you will be surprised at it can do for you.

Day 11 Financial Goals

Financial Goals ** le sigh**

I left this area last because personally it is the hardest for me. My goal has always been and will always be to be financially free. That means no debt, a healthy savings account and not be forced to do something because “I need the money”.

With out getting into specifics, a few years ago I made a bad investment that left me broke. Not just broke in huge amount of debt. I wasn’t living paycheck to paycheck. It was paycheck to ok my account will overdraft on Thursday but I get paid on Friday. There have been many sleeplessness nights , breakdowns, tears and ruined friendships. I went from have a near perfect credit score ( in the 800’s) to barely in the 600’s.

Now I have always been pretty good with money. There were times in the past when I carried a little debt but I’ve always managed to pay it off.

I can honesty say that the last 3 years have brought me to my knees. I truly could not see the any light at the end of the tunnel. I fell so quick and so hard that I didn’t realized who much trouble I was in until it was too late.

It seemed like I had no options and I didn’t know what to do and how to stop my spiral downward.  I knew that I couldn’t go on much longer and I needed to find something, anything to help me get my financial situation under control.

What has worked:

A few months ago I read an article on The Budget Mom. She practiced a method called paycheck budgeting. The article method really resonated with me because I always did a version of paycheck budgeting, I just didn’t know it had a name.

I visited her website to learn more about her method and the cash envelope system. She has a ton of free resources and a getting started guide so I decided to try it out for 3 months to see it will help.

Y’ALL it has changed my life! Like foreal foreal. I have followed her budgeting plan to the T for the first 2 months and I found so many areas where I waste money. The first month of tracking my spending I found that I spent $600 a month on food! I couldn’t believe my eyes. I only buy groceries for 2 people and I end up throwing out food every week. I immediately worked to bring my food budget down to $400. I used the $200. Month extra to pay off a personal loan. Then I took that $200 and the $243 from my loan payment to pay off one of my smaller credit cards. I can proudly say my current food budget is now less that 300 a month.

What hasn’t worked:

The thing that got me into trouble was spending money I didn’t have for a payday that didn’t come. I would tell myself, ” you can send that money cause in 3 months you’ll get the money from ___________ ( failed investment) and you can just pay it off. 3 months turned into 6 months. 6 months turned into 9. 9 months turned into never.

I have made a lot of strides these last couple of months, but I know I have a ways to go. I know I’ll get to a place of true financial freedom one day and I can look back at my rock bottom as the turing point.

Financial Goals

  • Pay off 2 credit cards using the snow ball method.
  • Grow my long term savings to $10,000
  • Save for an all cash trip to Disney

If you get a chance please check out Kumiko at The Budget Mom. Her website is great and she has really helped me a ton. What tools do you use to help you budget? What are your fina cial goals and how big is the gap between where you are and where you want to be? Leave a comment below, its free! Day 11 donezo

Day 10 -Career Goals

Career Goals are a little tricky considering how I’ve always considered myself having a job rather than a career. Up until my recent job change I would say I have had pretty unfulfilling jobs the past 5 years. Not necessarily dead end jobs but definitely jobs that I couldn’t (and didn’t) see myself having for more than a year. Before you start to think of me as some serial job changer I have worked for the same company but just in various roles. 

As I stated before and 6 months ago I recently changes roles again and while I know that this more than likely will not be my forever job I can see my staying within my current segment for a while. When I think of my ideal role this list comes to mind 

  • Flexibility in hours 
  • Ability to work from home 
  • Being paid well  ( over 100k/ year)
  • Work on creative projects 
  • Be an Independent contributor. 
  • Plenty of vacation time 

To be quite honest my current job checks a lot of those boxes, and I am grateful for that. But the whole point of the challenge is to grow, and expand. Where I am is nice but how much better would it be at the next level? Full disclosure I ultimately want to have my own business and work for myself but for the time being I would be pretty happy if can find opportunity that has all the above qualities.

What has worked in the past:

I have a friend who always has the most amazing jobs, out of college she landed a job in NYC and moved why I was still working at Dave and Busters. Then a few years later she packed her stuff and moved abroad and landed a job at a designer fashion label.  I remember saying to her “how did you land that job?” And I will never forget her reply, she shrugged and said “I don’t know”. I pressed further, “Well you must have met all the qualifications right?” Her answer “Mmmm not really, I didn’t really meet most of the qualifications but I applied anyway.”  My jaw hit the floor. I was in awe by her fearlessness. It didn’t matter to her if she was qualified not she wanted that job and she got it, end of story. That is something that stuck with me and have served me well. 

What hasn’t worked:

See that story above? Well for a while I forgot that lesson. I got into the mentality that I had to “work hard and wait my turn” and take a roles that is “ good for now “ this led me into taking roles that I was over qualified for or take a pay cut with the promise of riches later on in the future. With age comes wisdom I have realized that there is one thing that employers do, lie.  A lot of times they don’t it maliciously but a lie is a lie. There will be more on this later on but in a nutshell I forgot my worth and just took what I was given.

Career Goals 

  • Find 1 small creative project ( paid or non-paid)
  • Build on Excel skills to align with my desired promotion 
  • Create a workspace that I can use as a WFH environment

Have you found your dream job? If so what techniques did to you to acquire it? If your still searching, what does your idea role look like? Drop a comment below! Day 10 complete

Day 8 Lifestyle Goals

Craig Blankenhorn – MMIX New Line Productions, Inc.
“Sex and the City 2”

What is a lifestyle? Like really? Is it having a life of leisure? A never ending vacation? Brunch and mimosas all day errrday? ( that sounds pretty dope actually).

To me my lifestyle goal is a controlled chaos. If I had to pick three words for my ideal lifestyle they would be Ease, excitement, love. I want things to be easy, simple and full of things and people I love. I Love to travel and being random but I know that it comes with a cost. I have learned with age if you plan you free time it is must more enjoyable.

Plan for free time? Say what now?

It may sound wacked but hear me out. For a long time I have suffered from anxiety. This anxiety is based in too many things to do and not enough time to do them all.

So what do I do? Nothing everything get so overwhelming that I cant do anything. Now I’m sitting on the couch watching tv thinking about all the other things I should be doing. Or I go to bed just to lay awake running through the the 10 things I HAVE to do before I go to work.

https://amzn.to/2KCc20xWhat worked: I would plan for freedom. I would make a list of the top 3 things I need to accomplish in a week. Just 5 not 8 or 10 that’s too many. Once I completed those items I could add 3 more if I felt up to it. Once I completed my three items I could catch up on one of my shows, free from guilt. One of the books that has helped me with my procrastination is called Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time

Continue reading “Day 8 Lifestyle Goals”

Day 7: Health Goals

I only have 1 health goal; to live till I’m 100. That’s it simple. Right? Right ?!? At my lowest point my weight ballooned, I gained over 30 pounds in a year, none of my clothes fit and I got winded every time I went up a flight of stairs. 2 years ago I joined my local Y and started taking Zumba classes that has helped me lose some weight and improve my overall health but now I’m at a plateau.

What worked: About 5 years ago I lost a significant amount of weight, about 60 pounds in a year. I worked out, mostly walking 5 days a week and used My Fitness Pal to track my meals. I would add fresh veggies to my favorite meals; i would make lasagna packed with spinach, top my pizza for arugula from the farmers market or top my oatmeal with dried fruit and slivered almonds. I was so determined to hit my goal weight 165 lbs. I will never forget the day I hit my goal I stepped in the scale and it said 162 I was so proud of myself. I will also never forget the very NEXT thing I did, I said “I’m done” . That was a HUGE mistake and I proceeded to eat every. last. pound. back. on. This brings me too

What didn’t work: I have never believed in diet systems like Nutrisystem, Herbalife and Atkins they all seemed too restrictive and not sustainable to me. I know tons of people who have done those programs and I could never understand why. I tried Noom when it first came out and they had a 60% off promo, I cancelled it after 6 months because I was not feeling the program at all.

My Health goal :

  • Up my workouts from 2 to 4 days a week
  • Try 2 new fitness classes ( cycling or kickboxing )
  • Focus on quality of my food versus quantity – 70% of my plate vegetables and fruit.

I’m going to try and be kind to myself when it comes to heath, I don’t want to be obsessive about it . The one additional things I will do is reread Naturally Thin by Bethenny Frankel whether you like her or not her book does have so really great tips for creating a healthy lifestyle.

Tips for setting Health Goals:

  • Find exercise programs that are fun and help work up a sweat
  • Switch it up a little try classes that you don’t usually go to; this will help to break through weight loss plateaus
  • Instead of “cutting out” foods try to add fresh fruits and vegetables to your favorite meals.
  • Know thy self; if you know you hate the idea of liquid diets of pre-made meals; don’t do it. Your only setting your set up for failure.

Day 7 Complete, till next time folks!

Day 6: Education Goals

One could say to themselves; I’m a grown ass woman I finished school I don’t need any education goals. Au contraire mon ami, everyone should have education goals.

I consider myself a life long learner, there is always something to be discovered, enhanced, fine tuned. I have realized that learning is a extension of being creative, the more you learn the better you can create and sharpen your skills.

What has worked : Every year I write down 4-5 books that I want to read: I usually get the titles from people I admire or have been recommended to me. I keep a list in the back of my planner, on amazon and my online library account. Usually they are books to help me accomplish something; better habit; healthy eat; tidying up something. Also I have drastically improved my Excel skills, which has made my day job easier and help me build skills for my next career move. I though about buying one of those Excel courses but honestly I learned everything online and YouTube for free.99

What hasn’t worked: Trying to coax myself in learning things I “should learn” I have toyed around with the idea of getting my masters for years and every year I stop myself actually applying to a program. Why? Cause I know I don’t want to go back to school. I don’t need to pay $2000 a course to learn how to be a “Project Manager” without experience the certification is all but useless. With that being said, the Get Masters Degree goal will be on hold indefinitely.

Education Goal: For my education goals are as follows

  • Continue to read 4-5 books over the next 12 months.
  • Refresh on basic coding ( for WordPress)
  • Go from being proficient to highly proficient in Spanish

For right now this is just the basic list I came up with to start. Here are some tips for choosing you education goals:

  • Is there a skill that your missing to “fill the gap” can that skill be learned?
  • Think of the people you admire the most, what are there favorite books? is there any books that have changed there life?
  • What are some free resources that you can utilize to learn a new skill? Check local libraries and churches to see what classes they offer.

Day 6 complete

Day 5 : Relationship goals

Day 5. I pondered on what would be my relationship goals but first which relationship needed refining??

This goal can be with any relationship, romantic, friendship, with siblings, coworkers, children.

In 2017 I walked away from a long term relationship, literally walked away and never went back. Actually I did go back to retrieve my stuff. It was scary because for the first time in a long time I didn’t know what I wanted. It was always what was best for us even if it wasn’t best for me. I have worked on learning to love myself to use my former partner as a blueprint of what I do want in a relationship.

While I may not be quite ready to have another serious relationship right now. My goal would be practice self love and care so I will be ready when the time comes. The way you treat yourself is how others will treat you so I will schedule 1 self care activity every month.

Friendship / family relationship goals would be to establish healthy boundaries and to say no more often. This is another form of self care by me reclaiming my time to do things that add value to my life .

Now as time progresses these goals will evolve as I start accomplish them. Day 5 done.

Are there any relationships that you would like to improve? Leave a comment below.

Day 4: 7 Areas to Transform Your Life

So on day 4 I laid the groundwork for the goals I am going to set for myself. Not necessarily as a New Years resolutions, because resolutions are destined to fail with the same likely hood as tattooing your partners name on your body. Not saying it they will definitely fail buttttt if they do I wont be surprised. Over the next few days or weeks I will set my goals and when I feel ready I will take action. Once again its about giving myself space and doing things on my terms not because commercial is telling me to.

A long time ago a blog I subscribed tos call Mane and Chic explained the 7 major areas and it has stuck with me ever since. The 7 major areas are:

  • Relationships
  • Education
  • Health
  • Lifestyle
  • Spirituality
  • Career
  • Finances

One by one I will take time and set some goals to get me to my “best life”. I big part of my process will be, where have I found success in this area? Up until 2017 I have had varying degrees of success in each one for the categories. My hope is if I can make incremental but noticeable changes in each category then my over all well being will improve. Over the next few days I will lay out my different goals and my thought process behind the goals. Who’s ready to really dig in to the who what how and why?!?

Day 4 done till tomorrow folks!

Day 3: Goal Setting or setting up for failure?

Got Goals?

Of course what self respecting, red blooded american doesn’t have goals? I have long goal, short goals, mini goals, stretch goals, smart goals, insta-goals, bae-goals…..and bagels ( see what I did there).

And where so most self respecting abundant co-creating american put these goals?? On a vision board of course! Every year I make a virtual vision board on Pinterest and every year it goes pretty much unfulfilled.

But how Sway?

I’m smart, motivated, ready to change my life. Why am I not manifesting anything on my magical board?

Here are some pins from my virtual vision board:

When I thought about this challenge and my goal one of the first questions was, “why am I choose this goal?” When I look at my vision board and ask myself, why did I choose this pin? It makes total sense why not may things manifested into my life. Lets take the purple jeep to start, I have always wanted a truck or 4 wheel drive vehicle. The idea of the jeep was cool because they are pretty rare on the roads and id look dope in the summer riding around with the music blasting. Now if you asked me what I want in a car I would say a truck or hybrid vehicle. It must have tons of buttons in the dash, power everything and a smooth cloud like ride. The jeep compared to what I actually want in a car are total opposites with the exception that they are both trucks.

Next is the woman in the bathing suit, I want to be fit and have beautiful bouncy waist length curls. Now there is nothing wrong with the pic except for its probably photoshopped. 99% sure its photoshopped. I know I do not want to hold my self to an image that I’m sure the model doesn’t even look like in real life. My goal now is to be healthy, I want to be fit, I want to run a 10 min mile.

Secondly do I really even want waist length hair? All of these Instagram photos and YouTube “hair gurus” got me feeling a certain type of way. I forgot I’ve HAD waist length hair multiple times in my life. Each time I’ve said its too much and cut it off. I remember I had a rule that every time my hair was past my elbows it needed to be cut. Long hair is beautiful, until you have to style it. Maybe I grow it out maybe I won’t but it is certainly not a goal anymore.

The beach front dinner ….. I’m still not sure why I pinned it. Its beautiful, but its not relevant to anything I want to creat in my life. Yes if I had a formal dinner on the beach I would like it to looked like that….. But once again why would I have a formal dinner on the beach?

I got the job and meditation post. Now these things have actually come into my life. I recently got a new role with my current employer and I am actively working on deepening my meditation practice and creating a dedicated space.

Are vision boards bad? Absolutely not. I love my vision boards and will continue to use them every year. The difference is what I am choosing to put on my board and the why behind it. I still have beautiful scenes but they are of ACTUAL places I really want to see. For 2020 there will be short term, long term, stretch and fantasy goals included on my board that reflect who I am and want to become rather than what is pretty and trending. I have just scratched the surface on goals there will be more to come.

As you start you 2020 goal setting will you be incorporating vision boards? Have they worked for you in the past?

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