Hard Goals Softened for Success!

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Now it’s time to get serious.  We’ve reached the hard category, once you hit this category it’s easy to give up, to throw your hands in the air and say nope, I quit!  Good thing we haven’t started the process of putting these into action yet and are still categorizing them!  That’s MUCH easier 🙂

For me, the biggest thing here still is going to be related to my time management.  I want to be less serious and laugh more, but when you book yourself the point you can’t enjoy life, it kind of defeats the purpose.  Rest more? Really, who does that?  I’d love to but who’s got time for that??  This one makes me laugh at myself…Church involvement, get involved with one thing at Church.  Um, Shonda, your goal is to simplify your life and do less not more, so why are you adding yet another volunteer avenue? (Don’t worry, I know why, and I know how I’m going to work it in without stress!); Open minded – this one is under Motherhood…without going into to much detail right now, we are foster care providers as well as going through the adoption process, so this is very important to me.  And last but not least Reactions – think first…is it really a mountain??

While it’s easy to list out the goals for this category, actually implementing them will be the challenge.  To make this process easier, it is imperative that I keep these goals on my mind from here on out, never forgetting them, always thinking about them and how they impact my life and how they could totally change my life for the better.

Your homework is to get those hard categories listed out separately and add your short term and long term goals to them.  Start now in thinking of these goals daily.  If need be, write them on post its and stick them on your bathroom mirror so you see them every morning.  They aren’t there to give you anxiety, they are there to give you courage and hope for a simplified life.

Take a deep breath, this weekends post will be on the Impossible Extremely Hard category.  Don’t worry, we can get through them!

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Categorizing Your Life…Setting yourself up for success!

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How many times have you said on New Years Eve that this year is the year you will change?

How many times did you actually change?

What do you think went wrong?

How can you avoid the constant disappointment in yourself?

Every year, these questions would be on my mind as I watched myself fail miserably and not obtain any of the goals I set for myself.

It wasn’t until recently that I realized why I keep failing…I’m setting myself up for failure instead of success!

So how do I break the cycle and set myself up for success you ask? It’s actually very simple, and you don’t have to spend a ton of time (or money) on simplifying your life.

It’s all about categorizing your tasks or challenges (or in our case right now your area’s of your life) into one of four different categories:  Easy, Medium, Hard, Extremely Hard.

You can do this one of two ways: Written on your paper already is your list, and your categories.  I suggest getting out four different colored highlighters and assign each category a color.  I did it similar to a stop light:  Easy=Green, Medium=Yellow, Hard=Orange, Extremely Hard=Red.

The second way – Excel, type up your area’s and using the highlight tool, change the cell the color represented for each category.  I prefer to do this step in Excel because it will make the next few steps easier as we go through the process.  If you don’t have Excel, you can get Open Office for free and use their program that is similar to Excel.

Once you define your colors, look back at your list and start categorizing your area’s by what you think will be the easiest area to change, the medium, hard or extra hard areas as well.

You may have to actually think about this a little longer than you’d think, because I found that as I was reflecting on these area’s tonight  I struggled with picking the easier areas but knew right away what the extremely hard areas would be.

Feel free to use my guide in the photo above to help you out.

This is your homework.  If you aren’t quite sure, think about it before you categorize.  You can add, remove, or change your areas at this time as well.

The object is to identify the easier area’s to battle FIRST as they will show you success.  You save the harder items for last, but yet you’ll soon learn, we will actually be working on them alongside of the easy ones.  I promise, this will all come together for you as we go through the processes over the next few days.

In the meantime, rest knowing you are simplifying your life already just by doing these steps!

Stop denying and start simplifying!

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Welcome back to day 2 of beginning our journey to simplify our lives.

Yesterday your homework was: to take a deep breath and repeat after me…I can and WILL simplify my life and I WILL begin today!

How many of you actually did this?  If you did, I’d love to hear about it and if you haven’t yet, don’t worry, you can begin today!

How much of your time does your thoughts consume you?

Some of my usual thoughts:

  • Thoughts about what you need to accomplish for the day
  • Thoughts about what you’d really rather be doing instead of work
  • Thoughts about what it would be like if you won the lottery
  • Thoughts about vacationing somewhere tropical
  • Thoughts about money
  • Thoughts about your health
  • Thoughts about how you really should be walking on the treadmill instead of reaching for a candy bar
  • Thoughts about the stress that is consuming you
  • Thoughts that express day dreams of how you wish your life would be

So many thoughts consume us day in and day out.  If you are like me, these thoughts are present when you are in the shower, driving to or from work, during your lunch break, when someone is trying to talk to you but you just aren’t able to focus on anything other than your own thoughts.

Well, I have finally decided that today is the day I start taking control of all these thoughts and areas I’d like to see improve in my life and I challenge you to do the same.

The first thing I did this morning while taking my shower was think about all the areas in my life I want to grab a hold of and simplify to make it much more pleasant.

The second thing I did was write them down in my planner in the notes section.

Here is my list:

  • Attitude
  • Laughter
  • Time Management
  • Health
  • Spirituality
  • Romance
  • motherhood
  • Work
  • Stress
  • Finances
  • Emotions
  • Reactions

After looking at the words on my paper, I said to myself now what? I have this list what will I do with it?  I decided that today, all I am going to do with it is just think about these words and what they mean to me.  Really define what each area is that needs to be simplified.  Don’t worry or think about what your plans are to get there, just think about how these areas are affecting your day to day attitude and life.

After you write out your list, treat yourself to something that makes you happy.  If you have to buy something, keep it at $5 or less, don’t go overboard, just something small that brightens your mood.  For me today, it was hot cocoa and a muffin from Panera for breakfast.  Just that small gesture to myself as well as writing out my list lifted my spirits and set me off in the right direction.

I am a firm believer that it’s easy to deny, deny, deny, and continue your life in a path of destruction.  Taking ownership of your life, and the areas where you struggle will greatly improve your life overall and it doesn’t have to be difficult to do.  Take one day at a time, one step at a time and soon you’ll realize just how wonderful your life truly can be if you just take the time to look.

Your homework for today has two parts:

  1. Make your list of the area’s in which you are currently struggling with in your life.  The list doesn’t have to be in any particular order, just write down as it comes to you what stands out to you as needing something changed no matter how big or how small.
  2. Treat yourself to something that makes you happy.  If you have to purchase something keep it under $5 (this is very important to follow this amount which you’ll know later on as we continue this process together).  If you aren’t going anywhere today, look around your house, is your favorite drink or candy there?  If so, it’s ok for you to splurge a little today because I’m telling you, once you do something for yourself that’s simple, you’ll see an improvement in your attitude immediately!

You are valuable, you are important, you are amazing, you are worth it, and for once, you can do it!  Simplifying your life begins now, so pick up your pen and paper and get started.

If you’d like to share your lists, you can do so in the comment section of this post or you can take a photo of your list and/or your treat on Instagram and add #simplifiedshonda to the photo.

Begin Today! Taking control of your life!

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For the past year, I have said that I was going to start this blog and begin on my journey to simplifying my life once and for all.  Each day passes, and I still haven’t started.  Why? There are many excuses that I can come up with off the top of my head like:

  • I’m so busy now, I really don’t have time to do this
  • I’m working 9+ hour days at work each day and driving over an hour (to and from) each day
  • I’m trying to get caught up on my clients with my photography and we all know fall season is the busiest
  • I’m the Even Co-Chair for Relay For Life of Springboro and that takes up what free time I have after work, photography and family
  • I’m afraid of being laughed at or worse yet, failure

That last one really is what has had me stop and say “maybe a different day I’ll begin”.  So consumed and worried about what others may think or feel when they see how non-simplified my life really is right now and afraid they will laugh at me as they watch me try to regain control and simplify everything and regain control of my happiness.

Yesterday, I was listening to my favorite radio station and what I heard was “We want others to like us because we don’t like ourselves.  Put yourself first!  Like yourself and say no to people.  Understand YOU!  When you say no to someone else, you are actually saying YES to yourself!”  E.D.

How ironic those words were spoken yesterday and even more ironic, I wrote them on a sticky note and have them sitting on my desk where I’ve stared at them all day.

So for now, during my quick lunch break, I am taking time for ME to start this blog, for it is time, I WILL Begin Today!

If you are in need of taking control of your life, your hectic schedule, and find that happiness again, you’re in the right place!  We begin now!  Stay tuned for more information on an awesome challenge I am creating, right now it’s in the beginning stages and I’m looking for interested parties to join me on this epic journey of daily happiness.  

Your homework for now is to take a deep breath and repeat after me…I can and WILL simplify my life and I WILL begin today!