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December 2017
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February 2018

Your Secret (and FUN!) Weapon for Achieving your Goals

My secret weapon is easier to use than you think and so incredibly fun that I forget how powerful it can be when making progress towards my goals.

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When you are working towards a goal, it's wonderful to be able to see the progress you are making as you work. One of the simplest, funnest ways that I have found for collecting your goal 'data' is to track your progress. 

A habit tracker may not seem like much, but when used the right way it can be a fantastic secret weapon for you!

You can track any way you choose, YouTube and Pinterest are full of beautiful habit tracker ideas, ranging from super simple to very elaborate. For me, I've found that simple is the way to go. That way it's easy to keep up as I work towards my goal. I colour in little squares for each of the tasks completed. And for tracking books I've read, I have this fantastic printable from Seaside Stickers to colour as I complete each book. There is a reason those adult colouring books are so popluar these days, it's so satisfying!

Not convinced? Here are 4 wonderful benefits of tracking your habits:

You can see EXACTLY what you are doing. You have proof of what you've accomplished.
If you aren't tracking things you may feel like you are making progress, but without this proof, you may be wandering aimlessly towards your goal. Let's say that you want to increase your daily steps. Without tracking you may feel like you are walking more, but once you start tracking you'll realise that you aren't getting in as many steps as you thought.

You can see IF and WHERE you've gone off track. 
Maybe you are tracking your caffeine intake, in an effort to reduce it. Since you've been tracking, you notice that Tuesday tends to be the day when you go over your limit. And Tuesday just so happens to be the day that you drive the mama-taxi and while the kids are at their choir practice, you always stop at that tempting little café with the fabulous Italian coffee. Knowing this, you can drink one less coffee at home to allow for this caffeinated treat, or order a peppermint tea instead.

Tracking is Motivating.
If you are tracking your weekday workouts and you see that little train of  5 dots (one for each weekday) over and over for several months, you are not going to want to break that pretty pattern. Especially if it's only because one day you don't feel like exercising. Jerry Seinfeld came up with the don't-break-the-chain idea and it's pretty much the same thing. It really does work! Especially if that chain is coloured in all pretty-like :D

You can track whatever you like and tailor it to your goals and dreams.
You may be tracking your budget, water intake and daily walks in order to save and prepare for your hiking trip to the volcanos of Hawaii. Meanwhile, your bestie is tracking the books she's reading, the scrapbook pages she's making and rows she's knitting in order to try and spend less time on social media or watching TV.

All this tracking is data towards a long term goal. Like any scientist will tell you, data is important in any research. If you are trying something new, this data will help you in making important decisions on what to do next, what to let go of and what to continue. Having a tracker in constant motivation!

In the video below, I've got some great tips and tricks for making tracking fast and easy. There's even a bonus hack, so stayed tuned to the end!

 


You are Sending Secret Messages to Yourself!

Resolutions are a message to yourself, but NOT in the way you think.

DSC_9604I'm a guest designer at Studio Calico this month

Resolutions are extremely important, but not in the eat-less-exercise more-spend-less-time-on-Facebook way.

No! Resolutions are important because they can relay your heart's desire and reveal your dreams. If you are feeling stuck in where to go next, stuck in figuring out what your dreams truly are, you can look past the eat-better and clear-your-inbox type resolutions to really SEE your REAL resolutions, your DREAMS! I feel that resolutions are the same as dreams, something that you want to reach for, something that want to improve upon.

Have you completely forgotten what your resolutions were this year? Were they the same as last year, maybe? Just because you've forgotten them doesn't mean you should give up on them completely! If you've resolved to do something, then it probably means it's something important to you.

Not counting the compulsory lose-weight and watch-less-TV, resolutions reflect our inner desires. The 'write a novel', 'run a marathon', 'start a family' resolutions are the ones you want to pay attention to, the ones you shouldn't forget about until next year. Let your resolutions guide your dreams! Expand on them, let them simmer in your mind until they blossom into a vision of what your future could be. 

Does it include more travel, learning something new or changing careers? Comment below and let me know what resolution feels like a secret dream message to yourself.

Then of course, you need a plan, check out this post where I walk you through taking those resolutions and turning the into a goal you can work towards. MAKE A PLAN

Just because it's no longer January 1, doesn't mean you can't make a resolution today or February 1, or April 23rd! Dream up something wonderful for your life and plan it out so it comes true!  

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Why New Year's Resolutions Fail and How to Fix It!

Why is it that most of us actually fail to accomplish any of our resolutions, year after year? Every New Year's, we all vow to be more active, eat better and declutter our houses. These are resolutions that we are so adamantly determined to achieve on New Year's Eve but then forget 2 days later. Well, it's because resolutions are just that, resolutions, dreams and ideas. They aren't plans. We may resolve to do something, but that does not mean that it will get done. We are creatures of habit and new habits and actions are hard to implement. That's why we need a plan!!

DSC_9772I am Studio Calico's January guest designer 

Basically, a resolutions is a dream! Whether you dream big and really reach for those stars, or you are simply resolving to spend less time on Facebook and eat more greens, I'm behind you 100%. Whatever the size of your dream or resolution, it's important. It means something to you. You can't just let it stay a dream, it must evolve and grow into a goal and have a plan attached. 

Most people forget their resolutions by this time in Janaury, only to remember them again on December 31 when they are making their next list of resolutions. They may have pushed away that pizza in favour of a salad for the first day or two of the new year, but without a plan, the resolve falters and they are back to their old habits. It's true, old habits die hard.

I may be sounding like a broken record by this point! How many times have I told you that you NEED a plan! But, you do, you really do if you want to accomplish anything.

My instagram feed, in the first week of the year, was full of 'just starts' and 'new year, new beginnings' which are all well and good, but once you start, then what?

You need a plan to know what to do next, to keep up your motivation and to know what to do when you hit a set back. 
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Project-1-main-smallOne of my projects as Studio Calico's January guest designer 

And you will hit set backs, many of them. It's not a big deal, we all make mistakes and if you know that going in, then it'll be eaiser for you when you do hit them. Don't think of a set back as a failutre, because that will make you want to give up. Just see it for what it is, a bump in the road, that you simply need to figure out how to get over (or around, or even under ;)

With a plan in place, you may be prepared for set backs, but you may come across unforseen set backs too. But, you're smart and I know you'll be able to figure it out!

What are your 2018 resolutions? Do you have a plan to achieve them? If not, don't forget I've got Plan Your Dreams at Big Picture Classes to help with all that.


Let's Review Your Christmas Season!

I can hear the collective groan coming through my computer speakers! I know the title of this post may sound like an incredibly tedious and boring task. Like when your high school English teacher would break down a lovely poem into bits and analyse each individual sentiment, and word even. But, didn't that make the meaning of that poem so much more evident and powerful? Don't you seem to enjoy the poems you've studied in depth better than others that you only know the basic meaning?

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You may be thinking 'Come on Cara, back off already! Christmas is over, done and dusted. The last thing that I want to do right now is to go back over and analyse my lovely Christmas holiday!'

Well, I'm sorry, but that's exactly what I'm going to make you do!

I'll be nice about it, but I truly feel that review is a very important part of your Christmas planning for 2018. Yes, Christmas 2018, that not a typo. I want you to take 20-30 minutes today to make your 2018 Christmas Season that much easier. 

It really isn't that hard and it won't take long. Promise.

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I simply want you to make 3 lists.  

The first is to list the awesome things, the definitely 'do-agains' to make sure you make the time and energy to do it again next year. I think this could be the hardest list that I'm asking you to write. It's usually the squeaky wheel that gets the grease, so those things that actually went well tend to go practically unnoticed. Take a few minutes to relive the best moments of your Christmas holiday and jot them down so next year, you can enjoy them all over again.

Here's a peek at my review: Most of the organisation went rather smoothly for me. We got to do all the things we usually do, there was little bickering amongst my geeklings and our meal was simple, yet wonderful. I love ordering all of our gifts online, it helped me avoid crowded shops, which give me the heeby jeebies, and it saved me a lot of time. 

Next, make a list of all the crap things. These can range from the small mishaps that a bit of careful planning next year can fix, to those awful events that everyone suffered through miserably. Maybe you can eliminate those events or at least make them more tolerable next year.

For me, my Christmas cards took a lot longer in the mail than usual. I had cut it close and sent them out a bit late as well. So my tardiness plus the slow post, meant that a lot of the cards going over seas, didn't reach their destination until after New Years!! I'm bumping my deadline for sending them out from Dec 10 down to Dec 5 so that if I do send them out 5 days late again (oops!) I'll have them out on the 10th and not the 15th.

Lastly, make a list of anything that you can do now or in the near future to help yourself out, come December 2018. Typing up those new or changed addresses now will help immensely when you are trying to get your Christmas cards out on time. Jot down the things you forgot to pack on your trip to your parents' home, or that you should buy a bigger turkey next year.

I'd like to make sure that we all get to the temporary rink that the city of Luxembourg puts up every year. I usually bump this activity first because I hate crowds and it means taking the bus with our skates and gear because there is never any place to park my big rig in town at calm times of the year, let alone Christmas time. However, the children always want to go and I really want to take them in 2018.

Basically, with these lists, you are trying to help out your future self by writing down everything you loved or hated about December 2017. WRITE IT DOWN, write it all down. Believe me you, you will forget.

If you need any more help, or guidance, or just want a few more tips, pop over to my Plan Your Christmas class at Big Picture classes and check out lesson 7. There's even a great handout with lots of questions to help prompt your review.

Plan Your Christmas - Lesson 7

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