Distractions are all around us. No matter where you look, they are out there. Waiting for you. When I was talking to a friend earlier today about an unrelated topic, she pointed out the obvious. I need to focus, and to help me to do this, I need to be keeping my eyes on the prize.
In the business world, I am seen as a bit confusing, as I have been told I am too diversified. When we talked about this, I explained that I thought it was what I was supposed to be doing, because the moment I declared that my jewellery business, Tish MacWebber Always Blinging would now be officially a hobby for me, someone wanted to buy Book Bling. I took it as a sign, telling me that I was right all along. I thought it meant to keep pushing forward, full speed ahead in all areas.
My friend wisely pointed out I misinterpreted the sign. It wasn’t telling me to keep doing all of the things, but rather, testing my declaration.
Hang on there.
Maybe I was wrong.
In that moment, I realized she was right. The sign wasn’t a sign at all. It was a distraction.
How many times have you misinterpreted a sign?
I can assure you, it is very easy to do. One minute you are feeling great about the choices you have made for the food you have eaten so far that day and the next minute you are looking at the tub of ice cream in your freezer. You didn’t open the freezer to get ice cream, but now that it is staring you in the face, it is the only reason you should have opened the freezer.
Or is it?
What you really opened the freezer for was to get the bag of frozen broccoli out to thaw because you want to make a casserole, and one of the ingredients is broccoli.
But the ice cream is just there. Screaming at you. Insisting that it needs you to eat it right now, so that you can get the instant gratification it always gives you. You imagine yourself eating all of the ice cream, and how happy you will be.
Until you realize that you ate it all and feel awful because you were doing so well and the ice cream DISTRACTED you from your goal. Oh, it is sneaky and mean and it wants you to eat it all every time you open the freezer.
So do you lock the freezer and never open it again?
You could. It is not the practical choice, and truthfully it is not very realistic.
Should you declare to never ever buy ice cream again?
Maybe. But we all know the second you do, your favourite flavour is going to be on an incredible sale the very next time you walk into the grocery store.
What is the right answer?
When I open the freezer, I need to focus on the broccoli. The ice cream is only going to be a temporary distraction. Ice cream has its time and place, as a treat, not as an everyday splash into guilty pleasures. As much as I love a bowl of ice cream, I need to remember that I am on a new path where I am being kind to myself.
I need to love myself more than I love ice cream
That right there is a bold statement. The love I have for ice cream is right up there with lobster and pizza. It includes chocolate. To be perfectly honest, there aren’t many foods which I don’t love. The struggle is most certainly real, and when you put broccoli up against ice cream, the broccoli doesn’t stand a chance if I am not committed to my goals.
Broccoli has one thing going for it in this equation. Me. If I choose to get the broccoli and continue making the casserole, I will be preparing a meal which can be the reason I open the freezer for. Healthy food is how I show myself kindness. I need to focus on the short term goals to be able to claim the prize I am aiming for.
I know I will falter from time to time. Being human means I am not perfect, and I will make mistakes. I will be tested and distracted. The point is to not stay there. If you picked up the tub of ice cream because it was on sale, it is going to be there until you eat it. Unless you need to eat your feelings, which is never the positive choice to make but might happen if you get dumped or fired, it is not going to go bad before you eat it. It can stay right where it is because it will be there when you do decide that you want a bowl of ice cream as a treat.
Indulgences are a privilege of being an adult
You are your own boss of your life. So get the broccoli out of the freezer, close the door and act like it. Set your goals, keep your eyes on the prize and focus.
As I am writing, I am also recognizing that I have steadily lost a pound or two in the last few weeks. I weighed in at 313.6 pounds yesterday. I am getting closer to taking the new picture for this blog, the one where I show myself and the world I can and will reach my goals, one pound at a time.
Several months ago, some friends visited with a common goal in mind. We sat around my kitchen table, talked, laughed, and tore up some magazines. Our mission was to collect inspiring pictures and words to create and add to our vision boards.
First, I began with a honeymoon magazine. I have always wanted to go somewhere for a honeymoon, and I love the beach. Other topics which caught my eye involved bright colours, decorating ideas, pets and plants. As a result, the number of pages I collected soon added up. This was the beginning step of creating my first physical vision board.
I have previously created a digital vision board. People are using them for backgrounds on their computers, and even on their phones, to be a constant reminder of what their goals are. Therefore, it makes sense to have pictures and digital photos where they can be seen easily, and frequently.
My first digital vision board
The goal for my digital vision board was to stay on brand, create inspiration, and show several goals at once. I was pleased with the outcome, but I also had all those pictures ready to glue onto a physical vision board.
When I set aside a second afternoon to work on the physical vision board myself, I selected and created a base. Next, I decorated it to add texture and colour. Then I stapled some bling around the outside. At this point, I was finally ready to go through the pictures I had collected.
A few hours later, I had collected and cut out every picture and word I thought I would use in my quest to create a vision board. After that, when I sorted the pictures and words, I realized I certainly had more than enough to create several differently themed vision boards.
Here you can see the 4 steps I used to create the first physical vision board.
As you can see, in step 4, the board is complete. I am still finding pictures which fall off the board, now that it is hanging on the wall. When I notice they are missing, subsequently I glue them back in place. However, it is a little annoying, but because it is my first one, there is a learning curve. The glue sticks didn’t seem to be working, so I tried the glue dots. For now, it is a great visual reminder of one of my main goals.
Finally, when it was finished, I then took another hour to rearrange the art on my office wall, to make room to hang up my new vision board. It is easy to see, and a colourful, vibrant reminder of something I am working towards as a personal goal.
I am pleased enough with this first physical vision board, that consequently, I am going to keep creating more. I am not sure if I will make them the same size as this one, or if I will vary the size based on the theme.
Have you ever created a vision board? Please feel free to share your pictures of yours in the comments, or a link to your vision board picture. I would be thrilled to see what other people create to inspire themselves to keep moving towards their goals.
It is time. Time for me to get serious about cleaning my house this weekend. Being at home all the time, you would think I had all the time I wanted to clean my house now. Since I don’t like cleaning, this is not the case. However, I can totally appreciate how nice everything is when I am finished, the clean smell, the orderliness of things. I find myself at times doing everything I can to avoid unpleasant tasks. Sometimes doing the bare minimum is all I have in me to do!
On occasion, I get on a roll with cleaning, and I just go at it until I run out of steam. Subsequently, the problem with this method is that it takes time to build up the gumption to start after it is left for too long. Since there are different styles of cleaning, some are popular, and some are effective. I am trying to work on a schedule for cleaning my home, just like I am working on my writing career.
The different methods.
Popular methods of cleaning vary between different sources. I have a home organization challenge I am holding as the gold standard. Toni Hammersley is the creator of A Bowl Full of Lemons, a very useful resource of helpful information for cleaning, organizing and decorating your home. She has books and printable documents to help you achieve your goals. She has a very active facebook group and I recommend looking it up and joining not just for cleaning, but also for ideas to help you clean and organize. If you are looking for the best spring cleaning challenge out there, this is what you want to check out.
Most importantly, I want to finish it this year. The cleaning I am working on this weekend is actually preparation for the deep clean in this style.
Marie Kondo is currently very popular. If you have seen anything referring to sparking joy, that is her method for decluttering your spaces. For example, it means that when you hold an item and it does not spark joy, you are to let it go. On the other hand, if it does, then you are to keep it. It is an interesting method, which might relate loosely to the Clean Sweep shows which were popular years ago.
Another cleaning method is by the fly lady. For busy people, a few minutes here and there every day will add up to a cleaning routine which requires little upkeep. As a result, in the long run, the maintenance of this method allows for cleaning on the fly. Hence the name for the fly lady.
How does cleaning compare to writing?
The thing is, I am an all or nothing person. I need to be all in, or I don’t bother with a lot of things. Changing how I approach cleaning and writing will be necessary so that I am able to adjust. As a result, I need to schedule blocks of time for each activity because I need to make them a part of every day. In addition, once I am able to manage this, I will create some positive habits to follow.
Realistically, for me, it is easier to think about these things than it is to plan them. In an effort to avoid having to overcome writer’s block, writing on a regular basis will instill the need to write every day. If I need to skip a day, it is not a big deal, as long as I go back and write the following day. This also relates to the Trim Healthy Mama Plan. If you go off the eating plan, you can correct it by going back on plan in three hours. A book is not written in one sitting, and this is something which is helping me with the thought process of a cleaning and writing schedule.
If I clean for one hour, I should write for one hour. Adapting to working from home is something new to me, and if I start setting up my schedule early in the process, I will develop good habits that will make this plan sustainable. Likewise, exercise and sleep are also important to fit in. Breaks need to be scheduled to be reasonable. A break can be as long as I want it to be. This could be troublesome if it is left to chance. I can be distracted when I am not focusing on the time or what I am supposed to be doing.
If you are new to writing, the habit of five minutes, every day is how to start. For instance, I sit and hammer out on the keys whatever I am writing on when I write. I need to get things going but realize I will never accomplish either goal without making time for other projects.
When I am really in the creativity zone, I can become very involved with projects. It is hard for me to focus, sometimes so when I do, I can lose track of time when I am being creative. This can work against me if I am needing to split my time between different projects. Deadlines are also a concern, for the reason that they will force me to focus on the task I am working on. As a result, other projects are left aside, even if they are just as important to get completed. It is good to have a deadline to encourage me to complete projects.
What is your cleaning schedule like? Do you have a preferred method to share? Please leave a comment so that maybe we can improve upon our own strengths, and eliminate the weak points.
I was supposed to write this story last week, but time got away from me. I have a lot on the go, and sometimes I have to decide what to prioritize. I am going to try and catch you all up on what has been going on.
I have made some changes recently, in the hopes of improving my health.
I have all but eliminated pop from my beverage list. I will still allow it from time to time, but Roy started this a little while ago, and I am supporting him. Even though Zevia is on the plan. I will still have pop with pizza, and sometimes at home, but we have reduced our intake. He has lost some weight. I have had improvements in my blood sugars, with this and paying more attention to what I am eating and remembering to take my medicine. Little changes add up to big results. My 3-month average was starting to creep up to a bad number. It was 9.6; 6 months ago. The doctors want is under 7. I am happy to say that the latest bloodwork had it down to 8.8. Yes, it is not where we want it to be, but my doctor was so impressed that she said not to worry too much about that awfully high number you see in the cover pic. It was my weight not that long ago.
I was participating in a 10 day, 30 photo challenge online when I took it. The camera did add 2 pounds ( really, it did). I took to my Facebook wall and asked what colour should I choose ambiguously for the challenge that day. Hot pink or Legendary Red. Hot Pink won by a landslide. I painted my toenails in pink, dug up the feather boa, and stepped onto the scale for a pic. I knew it was really hard to do, and sharing it was brave. I was scared, but for me and my journey, I needed to share this pic.
It will soon be amongst the 29 + other pics I took over those 10 days in an album or graphic soon. I want to have them all together, to show others what I am capable of. Take note of that ending of the last sentence. to show others WHAT I AM CAPABLE OF! I am learning more about myself and what I can do every day!
My weight is a concern to me. It is the highest I have ever been to, and I know I need it to change. With that in mind, I decided to reach out to a Health Coach, who was recommended by my Diabetes Case manager. I had a few things to check out for our first appointment.
I have taken on the Wellness Wednesday Project (WWP) as the Ambassador. I am trying to help people at work with contests, prizes and information. My boss offered this as something I could do when I asked him if I could write a blog for our workplace. I was going to be at work early in the morning for a couple of months, and I thought writing would be something I could do at that time. I cannot access my book online to work on it, there is only wi-fi in the mall, not in the call centre I work at. I am not able to work on it there, unless it is old school, pen and paper, on my own time. When I am not working on WWP, I do take the paper copy of my book in and edit or write stories for the Kit Sora Flash Fiction with Engen Books. In the last one I entered, I placed second with my story. I placed third recently in another one. They are fun, and I am glad I can enter them.
Rabbit hole. Sorry, I get distracted sometimes.
There is a point, though. 😉
I was researching the Health Coach idea in light of my own need, asking about options for a friend, and checking on what might be available for work. There are workshops, and that may be something that happens in the future. For now, I have some information and I am working on my own goals with her. I am able to meet with her for appointments and we are working on my sleep habits, first. I am not able to change them yet, but I am conscious of what I am doing that delays bedtime on work nights, and I am trying to do better. We are now lowering the goal from 5 nights a week to 2 nights a week, to see if I can find ways to sleep longer. 5 or 6 hours a night is barely enough to be able to function. I am managing, but not feeling like my best when I am following this sleep-deprived schedule.
In talking with her at my appointments, we decided that sleep is important enough as a foundation for achieving my goals that it should be the right goal to start with. I need to put a little more importance in my health and sleep patterns to live a healthier lifestyle. It will trickle into other areas, and I will have the energy for things that I want to do but am too tired to do.
Something I realized is that I am putting a lot of things in the way of going to bed, and I need to treat myself to the same level of importance by getting enough sleep every night. I am working on it.
Even though the scale is not being nice to me right now, I am making progress in my blood sugars, which is very important for a diabetic. Once I start getting the right amount of sleep, the scale will be nicer. I just know it.
The other thing I have done was start a weight loss support group tied in with #Tishspiration. I am trying to hold myself accountable. I am working with a small group to help them and myself, to stay motivated. I am getting great feedback, which helps me to know I am on the right track. It is good to have a place where friends are in the same boat with you, or as I shared in a gif, all kittens in the same roller coaster ride. Since it is a small group and kept secret, the people in it feel safe sharing what is going on. I am finding their stories inspirational to me. It is a place to share our journey, and I do think it is going to help us all, in one way or another.
Like I wrote at the start, I am very busy these days. I am enjoying it as long as that is still a side effect, I will keep on keeping on!
#Tishspiration is the word I finally created to describe what has been going on in my life for the last two years or maybe even longer. I have been aware of it for the last two years, this I am sure of. I have been telling my husband for years that I am full of surprises. It went from being a saying to becoming what my superpower is. The best part of all of this is that I am using my powers for good. I am constantly surprising people around me with what I am doing. The best part is when I surprise myself. That is the true meaning of Tishspration, the part I want to share with the world. It can happen to you. I am going to try to explain it, and then give advice for what YOU should do when Tishspiration happens to you!
I have been on a journey for the last 2 years. It started when I watched that inspirational video, where I took away the message that I need to live while I am alive so that when I die and I think back on the life I lived, not filled with regrets and what ifs. I want to live life to the best of my ability. That includes trying things and doing my best. It means not dwelling on what might or might not happen, because I have done something to make a change. I am pushing my limits. I am trying new things. I am chasing my passions. I am surprising myself.
Where do you start? Well, asking me is one way to find out more. Waiting for my book about Tishspiration is another option. It will be a few months from now before it is ready. What do you do in the meantime?
Think about what you want to do with your life. What is something that you are really good at, something that you get so involved with that before you know it, several hours have gone by. It should be something that comes really easy for you, even if you don’t think it is your passion. If it isn’t it might be a clue to where you are supposed to be going on your journey.
People are starting to pay attention to what I am up to. Some of them are curious. Some of them want to say they knew me before I started my journey, to be a cheering squad from the sidelines. There is nothing wrong with either of those reactions.
There is a small group of people that are watching me, and thinking about their own lives. They have seen me change and start to grow into the person I am now, and they wonder what if it happened to them? To me, the answer is simple. I would simply ask them, why not? Why not take one step in the direction you want to go in? Why not prepare yourself for what could be, instead of hating the way things are and doing nothing?
What is stopping you?
Fear of failure.
Fear of not being accepted for being the unique and wonderful being that you are, from the inside out, the one you have buried inside for safe keeping.
Want to know a secret?
I am scared of failure too. When I try something and it falls flat, I let myself lay there for a while. In the melodrama of despair.
I cannot do that for very long, anymore. I have a drive in me, fueled by passion, bursting at the seams with stories to tell.
I am a Lyricist, with songs I cannot sing.
I am a Blogger, because I need to write.
I am an author, with some small published works, who is writing her first novel, and planning 5 more.
I need to let my stories out. If I keep them inside, they hurt me because I am selfishly not sharing the gift I was born with. By writing my books, I will be accomplishing my lifelong dream of becoming a published author. Surprising myself and others with how good I am at this writing thing. Most importantly, I will be sharing this gift with the world.
Because deep down inside, all of us know what our purpose is. We just have to be listening to our hearts whispering the answers to us. Then we need to make a plan and act upon it. One step at a time, on this journey of life. If you smother a spark, it will extinguish in time. Don’t smother your passion. Let it trickle out until you feel like opening the dam and letting it flow free.
Friends, I am standing in front of a lever, preparing to open the floodgates. The next step for me is getting my book published. I hope that you are 1% as excited as I am about it. I can assure you, I am the other 99% on the excitement scale, and then some! I cannot wait to be able to share this book with the world. I sincerely hope that you all will agree that it is worth the wait.
So what do you do if #Tishspiration strikes? Congratulate yourself on a job well done, then move on to the next goal. That is what I do, and I am an expert at #Tishspiration. It has gotten me this far…