Monday, January 22, 2018

The First Step!

Setting up your goals and wanted achievements for a year can feel daunting. What do you want to do in your year?

First, I'm sure a lot of you reading this may be parents and thus most of your life is revolving around the children you've been blessed with and what they want to do in the year.  That's GREAT!  Here's the thing though.  You can have a goal and wants and desires too.  I know it's hard to think past the endless programs and work and feeding the kids and cleaning and all the millions of other tiny little things that needle away at your time.

I get it.  I watch so many of my friends go through this all the time.

The ones that are really motivated set one goal for themselves each year and give themselves 365 days to get it accomplished.  Some of you are thinking - "Yes!  I have a goal of not yelling as much!"  Or something along those lines.  Yep!  That's pretty awesome in and of itself.  Parenting is a never-ending, 24/7/365 gig that you get paid in mud-pies and sweet snuggles and the less and less frequent "I love you's".  Here's the thing though.  You are a person first and foremost.  You are your own being.

Loving yourself and accomplishing things for yourself, independently of your children and/or spouse/partner keeps you being your own person.

10 minutes a day can be enough.  Maybe it is completing a craft.  Or going to a paint-night.  Or sleeping a full eight hours once a month.

It can be anything you want, as long as it it for you, to better you, and completed by you. 

This past Friday I laid the path to walk in my journey of IMPROVING MY CASH FLOW in 2018. 

Part of that is completing the financial layout for my year, broken down into quarters, then again into months, then weeks and then days.  Most of those days are listed as MAKE SOUND CHOICES FOR A BETTER FINANCIAL OUTCOME.  Still, there they are.

I'm using a hybrid of two journals to help me through this year.  A first for me.  One gives me the ability to write out my daily appointments, the things I want to accomplish in the week/month and small items.  The other gives me more space to write how I'm feeling, what my mood is like, things I'm grateful for, if I'm angry, frustrated, happy, sad, melancholy etc., and why that is, so I'm better able to be the most authentic me possible.  It's a great way to look back and see how I'm doing in life as well.

The idea came from a girlfriend of mine, as I'd never heard of a bullet journal before.  Then, of course, like any good researcher with all kinds of instant information accessible in nanoseconds, I went to pinterest to take a look!  [drip in sarcasm as you see fit!]

And so, Now I've got a visual idea of what this is all about, as well as articles linked to the benefits of having a place to regularly write this stuff out.  I'm happy to report, it is going swimmingly so far on this front.

Taking the first major step on your plan is another huge thing to celebrate as well.  To get to my goal by the end of the year, I have several aspects of my life that I need to stay on top of.  First, my month budget.  Second, my emotions.  Third, life.

The budget - of course I wouldn't be a PF blogger worth my salt if I didn't have one of these things - is ready to go and I'm ticking along quite well on all fronts here.  Crushing these goals is a huge step to getting to the end of the year with my overall goal accomplished. 

My emotions are the next big thing.  I have been working on these for a while.  Specifically the emotions I have attached to things, situations, people, and how those ebb and flow over the day.  Emotions surrounding relationships, happiness, my job, my volunteer commitments, the people I interact with regularly in my life, all of these things go into how I do with taking steps towards my goal each day.

The longer I'm able to vent out my issues, and dig into why I'm feeling the way I am, the more ability I have to control what happens.  For example, I'm an emotional eater, often stopping to get foods that are horrible for my body simply to try to make myself feel better.  I used to also sooth with frivolous shopping. 

Now, when I'm feeling those emotions, I take a moment to journal them out, and allow myself to come the the root of the issue so I can really take care of it healthily.  Having been to a counsellor for a little while, I was given some tools on how best to do this and see where it got me before doing anything like eating or shopping.  Now I can see what has set me off and take steps to better handle the situation and my emotions as they come.  It's quite a freeing thing I'm finding.

Having taken stock of all of my possessions, I am in a better position to purposefully accept new items into my life with eyes wide open and pocket book firmly shut.  I do not want for anything.  In fact, the secondary goal this year is to also release, divest, and purge 18% of my possessions by year end.  Fittingly, as I reduce my collective possessions by 18%, I am also increasing my Cash Flow by 18%.  In 2018. 

The first major step towards all of this happened this weekend.  Money transfer was set up and executed.  Journals are set and rolling.  To-Do lists are getting done with more purpose in less time and I'm not procrastinating as often or as long as I used to while working away on items.  When I want to sit and relax, I do.  When the mood strikes me to get up and do the next thing on the list, I let it move me. 

Prime example - this weekend was the final of the Canada Cup of Curling, and the NFC and AFC championship games.  I wanted to watch these.  I also wanted to get the kitchen cleaned, the bathrooms cleaned, the back hall cleaned, the vacuuming done, the laundry done, the donation bags set up, and bags and boxes to the car for distribution, the journals set up, the dusting done, meals cooked and weekly snacks prepared, and the recycling and garbage rounded up and out to the storage area.  So, how did I get it all accomplished?  I used the commercial breaks and half-time breaks to get my butt moving!

Now, before you go, "Ok, but there's only one of you in the house!" Let me assure you that I had 3 people in the house with me all weekend.  I did what I wanted to get done anyways.  The sports were non-negotiable on the TV Sunday.  As things started getting done, people started pitching in to help.  It got the work done that much faster. 

Before the final game began, the only thing left to do on the list was fold the laundry.  I can honestly say that I haven't actually put it away in the drawers or cupboards yet, but it is done and neatly folded in the basket waiting for me to do that tonight.

Along with changing the spare room sheets, the master room sheets, shaking the bedroom rugs (I forgot to do them yesterday), and putting away the clothing that I washed and folded yesterday.  Those items will be completed tonight over the supper hour and then the housework is done!

Additional items that I'm going to be working to complete this week
1) Purge old file documents
2) Shred old file documents
3) Clean silver and put away
4) Stack cook books in the dining room (until a good spot in the kitchen is found for them)
5) Go through 1-2 boxes/bags of items in the basement to review the items and find homes for them/purge them/sell them/donate them/gift them.

The list above will systematically help me review the remaining 24 boxes and 12 bags worth of unpacked items from the basement.  Some of these boxes simply need a memory refresh on what is in them.  At least 6 of the 24 are holiday decorations.

I have a spot set up in the basement just for this activity and I'm eager to get started making a bigger mess before reclaiming my space again. 

This is a big year to get a few big items accomplished!!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Are You Supported?

Let's talk about support today.

It is something that we all need.  In various ways and at various times in our lives we require support.

In our home, as children, we need to feel support by our parents and siblings to help us learn and grow and accomplish things.  As an adult, in our home, we require the same thing.  It looks different at different times.  Support can be a counsellor to help us navigate the chasms of our mind.  Support can be a teacher, a guardian, a parent, a friend, sibling, life-partner, coworker or some other mentor. 

Life is difficult when you do not feel supported.  Life takes on a lot more meaning when you do have support. 

Today, I'm talking about support because in the past I did not feel supported at times. 

To be in a relationship and feel less than supported by your partner is hard.  To feel that you can't trust that the support that you need will be there, is very hard.  You feel alone a lot of the time.  You feel like you are fighting for yourself, and probably your partner too, trying to be the support that they need, even though you aren't receiving the support you need.

To be in a relationship that has support there, and that the other person genuinely wants to support you can be a foreign feeling for a lot of people.  To be able to have open, honest conversation even int he tough situations, and know that in the end, resolution, and support will be there is a very rare thing.  It should be cherished.  It is the foundation of love as well.

So, let's talk about support for a moment.  Do you feel supported in your home?  In your relationship?  At work? 

If you do - GREAT! - I'd love you to tell me about it in the comments!

If you do not, let's talk about this for a second.  What does support mean to you?  Can you articulate to yourself what you need as support, and what it looks like for you?  This is the first step in being able to ask for it, and receive it. 

Do you think you've got a handle on what support looks like for you?  If yes, great!  Now comes the hard part.  Being able to articulate that to the people you require support from.  Because I guarantee that even though you've tried and tried to convey what you need, it isn't translating to the other person.  I'm guilty of this as well, especially in the past. 

So sitting down with yourself is the first obstacle - purely because we aren't great at knowing ourselves, or spending time with ourselves, or even being kind with ourselves.  Then actually writing out what support looks like for you is the next major step.  Once you've got this nailed down, you can really talk about it with your family and friends and coworkers even.  Then, believe it or not, when these people do the thing you've asked them to do, you need to listen too.

So often we get steps one and two done and have the talk.  Then when those people start doing what you told them to do, we lose it.  It's a sign that we aren't ready to receive the feedback and information we say we need.  So after the talk, the next step is learning how to receive.  Receiving can even be, a thank you for your feedback.  In the future could we be a little more kind with the delivery?  It's amazing how many times people hear you, listen to you, and then put their own spin on it because that's how they need it to be said, not how you need it to be said.

This is a reflection of their own projection of what they want but can't articulate back onto you.  We train our family members, coworkers, and friends how to speak to us and deliver things to us even in our complacency of correction when disrespectful communication occurs.  We do this even in our own self-speak.  We've conditioned those around us on how to deal with us because we don't deal with ourselves with kindness.  Some of the work here is being able to set your boundaries and stick to them.  Some of the work on gaining support is actually retraining the people in your life that you need the support from, to better speak to and support you.  The conversation and words we use for ourselves is a great indication of what we will tolerate from others...even when we don't like it. 

How are you being supported, or not?  What do you need to be supported? 

Drop me a comment - or a paragraph or essay - about what support looks and feels like for you.
Let's start the conversation here, so we can all improve our support systems and self-speak.  This is a safe place to put it all out there.  Feedback is always appreciated.