October Objectives

They say that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. And while that may be a bit extreme for the point I’m making, it is nevertheless a fairly accurate summation.

 

I have every good intention to use to these monthly objectives as stepping stones to completing larger, overarching goals. But when it gets to the end of the month I look back to see that not much progress was made. There is a disconnect somewhere, and until it is identified and corrected, I’m going to be like a hamster running on a wheel.

 

It was time for some reflection, to take some time to look back in order to be able to move forward. Finally, an epiphany began to take hold. You see, for the longest time I thought that the root of the problem was the inability to control myself when it came to certain things. After all, I will be the first to admit that while I am methodical, I am not above reacting on pure impulse at times. But then it began to down on me that the issue was two-fold. Yes, I needed to work on controlling my (bad) impulses. But I also need to hold myself more accountable. Making excuses and feeling sorry for myself will get me nowhere. By controlling myself, I can exit amazon.com before I buy the unnecessary <insert random purchase>. By controlling myself, I can turn down seconds during dinner at my parents’ house. By holding myself accountable, I can have enough respect for myself to do the right thing, whatever that may be. By holding myself accountable, I can make decisions that facilitate success in my life.

 

I’m only human, and a flawed one at that. I am not looking to cut out everything that is fun and delicious and wonderful and what makes being on this planet worthwhile. I’m not about that life. But there will be days where I indulge in some comfort food or a dessert. There will be days where I veg out on the couch with some Netflix instead of writing.  But now, instead of wallowing in the guilt of having slipped up or using it as an excuse to slip up more, I need to use that as motivation to do better tomorrow, or with some control (see what I did there), not indulge too much.

 

That being said, with this new and improved mindset, I’ve decided to extend my September objectives into October, with some minor modifications.

 

  1. Practice mindful eating more actively. This isn’t changing. I’ve given myself the goal to lose 17 pounds by year-end and this is definitely a major player in accomplishing that
  2. Be more effective in time management.
  3. I’ve decided to participate in NaNoWriMo this November as a way to jumpstart the ideas I have for some short stories. While I’m not writing a novel at this point, I am still going to try and accomplish the 50,000 goal. That will give me plenty of material to work with and hopefully mold into a working story.

 

October is probably my favorite month of the year. The new chill in the air, the crunch of leaves beneath my feet, I find it all invigorating for mind and spirit. So I’m moving forward with rejuvenated perspective and steely determination. After a year of feeling unmotivated and apathetic, I have made it my mission to make up as much ground as possible these last three months.

Allons-y!

From Treading Water to Swimming

Creative limbo can be hell. It’s something we all struggle with in some form at some point. For me, this limbo has presented itself in struggling to consistently create content for the blog. I know it hasn’t been long since I started but when something is important to you and it’s not panning out like you imagined, it does not take much for frustration to begin creeping in. The frustration has doubled because of my inability to pinpoint why I was feeling like this.

Then, as with many things in my mind, it suddenly clicked. I was only treading water, I was keeping myself from going under but I was not actually going anywhere. I had gotten too caught up in comparing myself to others, too bogged down in figuring out how I was going to make an impact. I thought that I needed to figure out how I was going to make a name for myself, create a distinction from all the other content creators. Then I realized that my distinction was that where I live, how I live, and my personality means that I experience geekdom in a more introspective and existential way. And that is what needs to be reflected here. At heart, I am an essayist; I find joy in the proverbial putting of my pen to the paper, in giving life to my ideas, thoughts, and opinions to. Sure, they may not earth shattering or prodigious, but they are mine, and that is what makes it worth it. That’s what differentiates this blog from the next. I had it figured out all along, I had just unintentionally lost sight of that.

Yes, I always want to do the best that I can. Yes, I want to reach as big an audience as possible. Yes, I want to create conversations and dialogue with those who share similar interests. But this is not my full-time job.  I cannot, should not, will not try and compete with blogs and fan sites whose moderators have the ability to commit more time that I am able. The only purpose that will serve is to drive me crazy, to drive me to the point that I don’t want to write anymore. I can not, do not, want that. Not at all. So the key is to remember that it does not make my little corner of the Internet any less important, any less worthwhile if there is a lapse between posts. It does not make my little corner of the Internet any less important, any less worthwhile if I do not post on anything and everything that comes and goes in the world. So as long as I am writing, so long as I am hopefully creating content worth reading, I will be happy and I will keep doing what I’m doing. And I hope you will keep coming back to visit.

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August Objectives- Quick Update

One of the bigger goals I set for August was no spending outside of the essentials. A relatively easy task, yes, but I am 100% an impulse buyer. I see something, I buy it. I get bored, I go browsing around online. It never ends well for my wallet.

Twice now, I have made myself walk away from something I wanted to buy but absolutely did not need. It’s so much harder to do that in real life than it is online where you can just exit the browser. It shows I know what the responsible thing is to do, it shows I’m capable of not throwing my money away on frivolous finds. I was so proud of myself that I just had to do a quick post.

I ran to the store yesterday on my lunch break to grab a few things. I cut across  the office supply aisle, and, wouldn’t you know it, there was a display of 5×7 notebooks with old school Marvel Comics cover. Not only am I an office supply addict, but notebooks and stationary are my kryptonite. And only $5! How could I not get them? Into the cart two of them went and on my merry little way I went. I didn’t even get to the end of the aisle before I stopped and realized that I couldn’t do this. I had no immediate, specific purpose for them (other than the fact that they were so much fun) and therefore couldn’t justify buying them. Placing them back on the shelf if felt like they weighed a ton. But by cheating on my goals I only cheat myself in the end. And that makes no sense.

Then today I ran to Kohl’s on my lunch break to return a few shirts. I had time to waste and nothing else to do so I just walked around. I found a cute crossbody/clutch on clearance. I’ve been wanting  a new one so I picked it up and went to check out. But I kid you not, I was in line having a very loud yet internal debate with myself about this stupid $12 clutch. I finally made myself turnaround and take the clutch back to the handbag department. Just because this one was on clearance does not mean that I have to buy it.

It’s an old adage but it holds true- if you put your mind to it, you can accomplish almost anything. If I put my mind to it that I don’t buy things that I don’t need (instead of making an excuse to justify the purchase), and I act accordingly when the need arises, eventually it will be habit. I’m not saying I’m going to stop shopping all together but I need to learn to control my impulse buying, to make more responsible spending decisions. These last two days have shown me that I’m capable of that. Let’s hope I hold strong to finish out the month!

 

August Objectives

Try as I might, I’ve been pretty lackluster so far in my attempts to buckle down and get serious with various pursuits. This is in part due to a combination of poor effort, lack of accountability, and too much ambiguity in what I was trying to achieve. It’s something I’ve been struggling with for several months now. I can’t quite pin down the exact root of the issue but all I know is that I’m sick of it. So I’ve decided to take a page out of some of my fellow bloggers books’ and start a monthly goals post.

Objective #1: For the month of August, I will not buy anything outside of the necessities. No online shopping, no random trips to the mall or Target, no Amazon orders. My discretionary spending has been out of control the last three months. I sat down and actually figured it all up and honest to god nearly had a heart attack. 90% of the things I bought were pure indulgences. And while that is okay (especially for someone who is single and not behind on their bills), the extent to which I’ve done it has crossed into ridiculousness. Every penny that I save will add to account I use for cons and trips. Not only that but I’m working on rebuilding the savings that was spent down after buying a house last year.

Objective #2: Lose 6 pounds before ChiCon. My weight is something I’ve struggled with for many years. About two years ago I started to be more conscious about the amount I was eating and exercising. By this time last year I had lost 40 pounds and I felt great. Then winter hit and I stopped going to gym consistently like I had been. By the time spring arrived, I had lost pretty much all motivation for working out. Over the course of those 3-5 months I gained back about 15 pounds and I can tell. What’s more disturbing is that that I can see myself falling back into my old, bad habits. The changes I had made those two years ago were not drastic by any means. It’s just a matter of willpower to start making the right choices again. Six pounds is completely doable and will hopefully get me back to where I was and eventually making even more progress.

Objective #3: Be more effective at time management. Unless I have a specific project to complete or deadline to meet, time management is not my forte. And it doesn’t help that I can tend towards being lazy. I’ve gotten in the bad habit of only doing one thing each evening. Once that’s done, I pretty much veg out for the rest of the night, regardless of what time it is. And while downtime is essential to my mental health, there is plenty of room to add other activities. Whether it’s going back to the gym, doing some writing, DIY around the house, there is no excuse for spending so much time not doing anything. I need to realize that there is nothing wrong with having and maintaining a schedule for all aspects of my life. If it’s what will help me achieve my goals, whatever they may be, then it’s well worth the micromanagement.

We all occasionally need a push or nudge that gets us going back in the right direction. I had thought that happened earlier this summer but apparently that nudge wasn’t strong enough. Various conversations and some personal insights have hopefully given me the major kick in the ass that I need so I can get back on track. I’m ready and I’m hopeful, so here we go!

Do you have any goals that you’re working on? Or is there a goal you’ve reached that you’re proud of? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

Productive in an Unexpected Way

I had a few days off work this week in order to have new windows installed in my house. Amazingly, they got the job done in one day. So here I was, faced with three more days off work and nothing scheduled to do.  That’s a rarity in my world. Days off work, beyond the weekend, are usually spent doing something or going somewhere. At one point I was on the fence about going back to work today, but ultimately decided against it. I was all in for a mini staycation.

I’m going to get so much written, I told myself. What better time do I have to let my creative juices flow then this?

Well, none of that happened. Opportunity wasted? Maybe. Opportunity utilized? Yes.

My brain needed a break. A break from worrying about work, a break from stressing over stuff, a break from trying to get the next post uploaded.

Sitting here, on my last evening for going back to the office (even if it is just for one day) I know that was the right decision because this was exactly what I needed.

You see, I’m a bit of a contradiction because while I tend to be lazy, I also have a hard time just sitting and being still. In the back of my mind, I will be thinking I need to be doing this or that. I’ll never be able to not do that, but at least for the last three days, I’ve done it very minimally. And it was grand.

Whatever I did was done my way and when I wanted. I watched some movies. I spent way too much glorious time on social media. I finished one book and started a new one (a sequel that I’ve been waiting four years to be published). I got in some family time at my parents’ house by the pool. I even got some stuff done around the house.

So yes, I didn’t jot down a single idea or start-up a single post. And that’s completely okay. The blog will still be there. There will still be time to figure out how to build my geek brand. At work, all the paperwork piled on my desk will live to see another day.

Sometimes, the most important thing we can do for ourselves is to actively partake in some brain rotting activities. It’s like a reset button. When we boot back up, we’re ready to go more than we were before. And now I feel ready to go: ready to face whatever challenges are waiting for me, ready to make some progress, ready to kick ass.

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What do you do to reboot yourself? Do you have any plans for letting go and unwinding? Let me know in the comments!

The noise, oh, the noise

 

I have a few days off work this week as I’m having new windows installed in my house. Perfect, I thought, I’ll be able to get some writing done, yay!

Yeah, not so much.

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Bang bang bang. Hammer hammer hammer. Repeat as needed.

As I sit at the little square of open space at my kitchen counter, I realize that I sorely misjudged just how distracting the noise would be.  The installers seemed pretty confident that’ll they get the job done in less time that I’m scheduled for. So hopefully I can still have a day or two for some peaceful writing before going back to the office.

….knew I should have bought that noise-cancelling headphones when I had the chance.