Promises, Promises

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 I’ve hinted a bit lately on Twitter and in other posts that I was working on some exciting things. My plans are still in the works, but I felt at this point I should probably start putting it all out there and making it a reality. Everyone knows, once you tell someone your goals you are more likely to stick with them for fear of public failure. Or, at least that is how it works for me.
 There are so many things going on in my brain right now that it is actually difficult to get it all out and onto this screen without just becoming a jumbled mess of words that make sense to no one but myself, so stick with me here. I’m really trying.
 I have been working on plans for 2018. I’ve told myself that it has to be a better year than 2017. I honestly can’t handle any more bad, not like I’ve had the last year. Not at all if I can help it, but I realize that is probably not possible.
 In my planning I’ve decided a few things about myself and the direction that I want my life to take. I’ve already put some of my plan into motion already. That is, I’ve gotten approved to volunteer weekly at my local Public Library. It may not seem like much to some of you, but books are a huge part of my life. Without them I may not have made it this far into adulthood. I’m unsure I would have even survived adolescence. I start my actual volunteering in January due to some family events I have planned out of state, but I feel it is a great way to start the new year anyway.
 Beyond the Library I decided on a few other things. First being this is the year I finally put myself out there with my writing. And I mean really out there. So far I have a Patreon set up which I am officially putting out in the world for you all to view and hopefully it will really help.
 I have also decided this is the year to get myself into Freelancing. I know it won’t be easy. I know it is going to be hard as hell actually, but I’m determined and somehow I will figure it out and I will succeed. Even if it takes me all year. With that said, if anyone has suggestions or is looking for someone to guest blog- shoot me an email!
 Can there be more? Oh yes, of course there can. It is me after all and if there is one thing I do it is set up millions of goals for myself. Some days having an obsessive personality and Manic episodes can really get yourself into more than you expected. Today may end up being one of those days, but I won’t dwell on that, not yet anyway.
 I finally have an idea for a novel. One that I want more than anything to see finished. So this year I plan to write it. I’m starting my goal with just a first draft, but in reality I’d love to see myself editing a second or final draft by the end of the year. Or if I could have that part done by November for NaNoWriMo that’d be great. I would hate to have to work on a second project for a month while I’m still in the middle of the first one. Speaking of NaNoWriMo- another goal is to participate, and win, both Camp NaNos and NaNoWriMo (April, July, & November). I also hope to continue working on the poetry collection that I started a few months ago entitled “I’m Not Afraid of Dying” and has a large focus on the last year of my life recovering from the loss of my brother. Sure a major underlying theme is loss, but it isn’t all about death. It has been difficult to work on but I do hope to have a final draft of the Chapbook by the end of the year as well.
 This past year didn’t go well for me. I struggled to survive and was just barely able to do that. The one thing I did have that worked for me, when I used it, was my Bullet Journal. This year I decided to make a digital one so that I could save paper, update it wherever I am, not have to try and draw, and so I could share with others if they were interested in making a copy of it for themselves. It is basic and bare bones, but if you would like a copy of it, it is yours. I hope you are able to take the base and add into it all the things you need to keep yourself on track for the year. Do make sure you make a copy of it before you start trying to edit and make it your own. You will not be able to edit the Template, which is why you need a copy. 2018 BuJo Template
 I hope that everyone is as excited as I am for all the new things that you plan to do with your life and your new year. I am forever trying to improve myself, live as my truest self, and to just be happy (that one can be difficult with Type 2 Bipolar).
 As always I love comments, emails, Tweets, whatever form of communication you want so keep it coming!

Hamilton

I have been binge listening to Hamilton for several weeks now. This isn’t the first time I’ve listened to it, nor is it the first time I’ve binge listened to it, but for some reason something has really struck a chord with me on this round of binging. There is a line that comes up in several songs “Why do you write like you are running out of time?” and it hit me this morning while I was listening to the soundtrack at work- Why am I not writing like I’m running out of time? I would think that is something I should want to do, always. I do remember a time when this was the case, but for some reason I have lost it. It isn’t like I’m uninterested, or that I lack the passion. I have it. I also have depressive episodes, so it makes things harder to accomplish.
I’ve talked about this before, several times as some of you might be aware. I’m not sure how to always how to keep pushing through these kinds of things, but I am trying either way. What better way then immersion. I’ve spent several weeks doing nothing. I think it was even less than nothing if that is possible, which having lived my life for the last two weeks I know for a fact that it is, but I guess at least the end result is this, me sitting here and writing this instead of continuing to binge watch a show I’ve seen before on Netflix or spending 8 hours a day playing WoW.
Life has a way of getting away with me sometimes. I let so much of what is going on in my head dictate what my life is doing, and not in a good way. I realize that most people don’t know when I’m doing poorly. Instead of taking the time off when I need to get my mind straight I keep up appearances. I go to work and do my job and by the end of the day I’ve spent all my energy for the next week. When I’m out of work it is impossible to get that energy back, no matter how little I do. I could lay in bed and watch Netflix until the moment I’m out of work until I go to bed and guess what? I’m still not recharged when the day starts over again the next day.
I need to start taking better care of myself. I’ve heard so much from so many people about self care, and I know that is going to be different for everyone, but part of my self care involves writing. So I need to be more conscious of what I’m doing or not doing in order to keep and eye on myself and try to get myself into a good head space. There will obviously be times when this is impossible, I do have Bipolar after all, but at least being more mindful of what is going on with myself would be a good idea instead of always trying to ignore it in order to be a functioning adult, or just functioning in general. A few times in Therapy I was asked what I do when I have the kind of day where I just want to build a blanket fort and hide away all day. I didn’t even have to think about the answer. I get up and go to work because I’m required to push myself beyond my limits to pay my bills and to do what is right for my family. I’m going to try to be more aware of those days and maybe at least take it easier on myself. I’m not going to be able to change the fact that I have to get up and do what I’ve got to do, but I could at least be patient with myself while I’m trying to work my way through it.
All of this is circular thinking on my part. I’m talking about pushing myself to write, which is a way that I need to talk care of myself, but I’m also being hard on myself for not writing during a time when I know I should be easy on myself. I guess this just shows that I’ll never really be able to win this fight, but that isn’t really what I wanted to get out of writing this. What I want to be focusing on is taking care of myself. There will be days when I need to push myself in a good way, and there will be days that I need to stop beating myself up and just take it easy.
I want to assume that everyone goes through this kind of process with themselves, but I’ve noticed that I’m not the only one who doesn’t take the time or effort to take care of themselves in a proper way. So today I’m going slow, but I’m still going and that is what is important. For anyone else that is struggling like I am— be kind to yourself and take it slowly if you need it. Only push yourself when it is actually going to be helpful.
As for me: I’m going to try to get some work done this weekend!

writing

I really have no title for this

So my life has been pretty abnormal lately, even for me, but I’m still trying to push forward and stick to my goals for this month, which primarily consist of completing Camp NaNo, getting my workouts in, and making healthier choices.

I’m slightly behind on Camp NaNo, but not enough that would make it hard to catch back up. I’m actually hoping to get some good time today to get caught up and possibly even surpass my daily goal on top of that. Nothing better than some wiggle room.

I’m working on a project that I really feel will make a great story. Obviously I’m not going to tell you what it is, but I will say it is as if I took a D&D adventure and put it into a book. So if you are into D&D or fantasy adventure in general then it might be something you’d enjoy. If I ever finish it that is. I’m not exactly known for getting past a first draft, but with this project I’m really into it, so who knows.

I, for those of you who don’t know, don’t do much planning before I start writing. I have a general idea of what I’m going to write about, but I don’t have any clue beyond that basic idea. I’ve even tried to make a basic outline that I could try to follow, but that is just too difficult for my chaotic brain to handle. How am I supposed to know what my characters are going to do until I put them in situations and see what happens?

What I can usually do before writing is create a basic backstory for my main characters. In this project I have six main characters and each one of them has their own backstory and reason for being out traveling in the world. Writing those gives me an idea of their personality and their reason for making the decisions that they do, but it doesn’t force the story to go into any specific direction and that is why I can do it without much issue.

I am quite ready for this first draft to be done, that is for sure. I’m looking forward to tweaking it and really making the story come to life. Right now I’m just focused on getting the words onto “paper”. I guess you could say this is how I outline. I write the whole thing is one big ramble and then will refine it later on, if I ever get that far. I usually get lost in the editing and rewriting process of the second draft, if I ever make it that far. I can’t tell you how many half drafts or first chapters I have just waiting to get written. Someday I’ll get to them all. Someday.

 

Half Year Review

Oddly enough I find myself a week ahead of schedule on blog posts. (Yay for that one morning last week where I got up early enough to write an advance post.) While every part of me says this is the perfect time to take a break and not write anything, I feel like I’m at an advantage and I should take it. For once I’m not scrambling last minute to put together a post. I can actually write this one, and change it or edit it if I feel the need before next week. How exciting? Yeah, I’m easily excitable.
It is that time in the year, it has hit the 6 month mark, and I need to sit down and evaluate where I stand with my goals that I’ve created throughout the year. This is the first year where I’ve actually tracked my goals this long. Usually I’ve given up by now, so the fact that I haven’t speaks volumes, at least to me anyway. One of the things I’ve noticed so far this year is that my goals are always evolving. I’ve probably changed them 5 or 6 times since January. It has taken me a bit, but I’m finally starting to feel like changing or evolving my goals to fit my life and myself as I learn more about what I really want is okay. It is better than okay, it is exactly what I need.
I wouldn’t be able to do any of this without my bullet journal. This is the first year I’ve worked with one, and while I have zero artistic abilities and it can be a little plain, it has done wonders for me. I’m not only able to plan out my days/weeks/months/year, but I’m also able to write down anything else that feels important. Bill tracking, addresses, therapy topics… You name it, it is there probably. This is how I’ve noticed the evolving of my goals, as I sit down to figure out what it is that I want out of my year. I realized, when I started this year that not only was I depressed, I was working off a list that I created before my whole world was thrown into chaos. I gave myself goals that I was either never going to accomplish, or that I really had no interest in accomplishing. Or, there were some that I really did want to accomplish, but that realistically weren’t going to happen. I’m trying to be more logical about the goals I give myself now. There is no reason at all to give myself goals to change who I am as a person, when I try, I end up just beating myself up over unrealistic goals instead of trying to find compromises that work for me.
I even tried to do the level 10 life, which you might remember from my April check in post. Well that backfired as without real track-able goals I have a hard time knowing if I’m making progress. It is a cute idea, just not one that works for me for tracking goals, though I might keep it as a visual reminder of where I am with my goals. I think that could be helpful. I guess we will see!
In past posts I’ve provided all the goals that I’m working on. I’m not going to do that this time. Until I got to this point I wasn’t sure if I was going to add them to this post or not, and I guess I even have time for things to change, but as of this writing I do not feel like including them. You may be asking yourself why I won’t include them? It really isn’t anything more than putting that much information about my personal goals out there is starting to make me uncomfortable. At least today. The anxiety is real people! But I also want this post to be about the fact that I realized my original goals were not good for me, so I decided to change them. That is what is important. That is the take away from this.

My First Quarter Self Review

How has the first quarter of the year already come and gone? I wasn’t ready for this. I realize I’m a few days behind on this post, I should have done it last week probably, but oh well. I’ll do things on my own time. I had debated this morning if I was actually going to even do a first quarter review, knowing that my year isn’t going to go as planned, not any more. The thing is, if I don’t try to hold myself accountable at least a little I’ll never get anywhere. So, here we go…
According to my Bullet Journal here are the goals I had set for myself this quarter:
1. Write 1-2 articles
2. Blog post every week
3. Make & achieve weight loss goals
4. Study more
5. Start paying off debt
6. Start first draft of novel

So how did I do with these goals? Not super great over all, but individually I did okay. I didn’t get any articles written, not one. I did some brainstorming on ideas, but that was as far as I got. Writing has been fairly difficult for me this quarter and I’m just now trying to get myself back into a space that I can write again. So maybe this quarter will have different results? Only one way to find out.
I did post a blog almost every week. If you don’t count the two weeks I took off from writing anything at all, which I don’t. I needed that time off. So I will count that one as a success!\
I made my goals, but as of today am just slightly off from reaching them. I will still count this as a success. I am doing something that I’ve struggled with my whole life. And I’m doing well with it. I even met with my Personal Trainer 2 times last week and she kicked my ass.
I actually did a good bit of studying the past few months. I was trying to get an IT position with my company so I did quite a lot of HTML, CSS and JavaScript classes. I still have some to finish and then I’d like to move on to something a bit more interesting to me personally. I did not get the job, and that is okay because it will give me much more time to focus on the skills I need to get it, or something like it, in the future.
I spent zero time or effort in the debt department. I am frustrated by this, but I hope to do better this quarter. I really want to get a handle on this and on my savings in general. I have big goals for the year, and this is one of the things that needs to get handled in order to reach my goals.
Up until yesterday I hadn’t really reaching the first draft goal. So I will say this was a no for the first quarter. However, Camp NaNo started yesterday and I started my draft of my novel. Fingers crossed I make it through the month and reach my 50,000 word count goal. That will put me at, or near a full first draft of a novel! I can do it!
Overall for the first quarter, if I had to give myself a grade, I would say it was something around a C, maybe a C+. I don’t think I anything that I did could have been improved much, not knowing how the end of last year was for me. This year is going to be an adjustment period that is for sure. I know that I have to keep pushing through, and I’m trying, that is why I keep giving myself these goals and why I keep adjusting them when I can.
For this next quarter, and for the rest of the year, I have changed slightly how I’m doing my goals. I have found this thing, called Level 10 Life and I am giving this a go. The link provided is of an example of what you can do with this philosophy, it is not the be all end all resource. If you want to know more I suggest doing some research and possibly reading The Miracle Morning, which I have not read yet, but it has been on my to read list for awhile now.
My 10 areas are as follows:
1. Health & Fitness
2. Family & Friends
3. Career
4. Personal Development
5. Writing
6. Being Involved
7. Marriage
8. Finances
9. Fun
10. Culture

This is what I will focus on for the rest of the year. And I feel like they are great areas of focus for me. So, now that you’ve been let in to my most personal thoughts, what are your goals for this year? How have you stacked up so far for the goals you made at the start of the year?

Find Your Why

I recently read an article, which sadly I can not find now that I’m writing this down, about why people aren’t usually able to keep their New Year’s Resolutions. I’m not really one to make Resolutions in general, but if you saw my first post of the year (I think), I do tend to try to set goals for myself on a fairly regular basis.

The reason this article spoke to me was because it basically said that Resolutions, or goals in my case, are things that we know we should be doing, for whatever reason, but people don’t make time for shoulds. Instead they will only make time for things if they know why they are doing them. And not just the superficial reason: “I want to do x because it will make me y.” You’ve got to think harder than that. Why do you want the result from that statement? What does it really provide to you, your family, and your life?

I’ve spent my last few days of journal entries trying to figure out my own why, and I think I may finally have it, but only time will really tell. I’m planning on re-visiting this search in a month or so to see is my why sticks, or if it has changed or evolved.

I just think this whole concept is quite interesting and would be interested to hear other peoples thoughts on it.

2017 Goals

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I know this post is late. I could have tried to write it while I was in New Hampshire dealing with the loss of my brother, but to be honest, I couldn’t. I wasn’t really able to do anything. I still don’t want to do anything, but that is because I’m having a difficult time figuring out how I’m supposed to continue my life without him. I’m not going to get into all of that now, maybe another day. What I can say for certain is this is not a cry for attention or pity. This is me, like always, writing the things that I think of as they come into my head. At this point in my life, 2 weeks later, it is still a fresh wound and a constant thought, so I will try my best to get to the topic at hand…

Goals for 2017

I wrote the following list before my life was changed in a way that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. I’m including it because I feel like where my mind is at now vs where it was at then needs to be seen, but also because I know if I were starting the year off in a way that I had planned for these would be my goals and keeping them as a part of this post is important to me, for some reason.

Better Eating Habits
Workout Regularly
Be more Social
Read at least a book a week
Walk Idris Daily
Finish First & Second draft of Novel
Write & Submit Articles for publishing
Post new Blog every Sunday
Meditate Daily
Learn to Love Myself
Learn about Myself
Build a Savings
MOVE!

Great list right?! Yeah except right now the reality of my list is: survive. I know I said I wasn’t going to talk about this, and I’m really not. I want to reach all of those goals, if I can, but I’m not going to push myself as hard as I might have before. I am going to try, but I also need to add a few things in light of these events.

Continue Therapy
Consider Medication for Anxiety, Depression, Bipolar, etc
Make a Living Will/ Will
Make sure I have Life Insurance
Get my Student Loans in Order
Pay off Schools
Go back to School
Start paying off debit

Everything that has happened since my birthday (December 30th) has made me realize I might not have as much time as I thought on this world. Who knows what could happen to me. In my brother Matt’s honor I will do everything in my power to not only live a more healthy life, but to accomplish many of the things that I’ve been putting off because I have “lots of time”.
For any of you that think this might be an overreaction to the loss of my brother, maybe you are right, but the fact remains that he passed on the day after his 34th birthday. Crazy awful right? Add to that the fact that the day after his 34th birthday, was MY 34th birthday. Can you see why I might feel like these are things I need to do now?
Maybe one of these days I’ll write about what happened, or where my head is at, but right now all I can do is give what I have, and that isn’t much. I just knew I needed to do this, even though my anxiety is telling me that it is dumb and everyone is going to pity me and why would I even write such garbage. I’m trying to remember that this is my therapy, this is how I will cope.
Be sure that you will hear more of where my head is at as I continue to blog in the future, but for now this is all you get. I would love to hear your goals for 2017. They don’t have to be resolutions, I really hate that whole thing, but I can’t live my life without having goals to work towards, so I make them and try to evaluate my progress throughout the year. How do you keep track? What are your thoughts on yearly goals?why-you-should-make-goals-and-not-resolutions