5 Things To Get Going With Your Goals

I came back to Los Angeles last week a little bit overwhelmed with the possibilities and potential trajectories of my life in the upcoming year. There are a lot of places I’d like to go, things I’d like to do, and accomplishments I’d like to achieve. It was all a giant blurry mess inside my head, and trying to sort out what was priority and what was fluffy back-burner pipeline dreams threw me into a lot of gray area. I started questioning what my true career goals were and what I really needed in order to be happy and enjoy my life on the daily. I realized something about myself that I had never really considered or allowed myself to fully embrace: I have some burning entrepreneurial ambition that I’ve never truly explored. And I also realized that what I really want is not a specific career title, but rather a career lifestyle. It kind of blew my mind when I came to this realization. Once I knew this, I suddenly had a new-found energy to face the bumpy, unknown road ahead. I created my list of goals and rules for myself, and I’ve started tackling them with a zest I didn’t know I had. You’ve probably seen some of my posts on Instagram about the healthy lifestyle change I’m making through ID Life, but that’s not even the half of it.

I want you to find your own zest, too! Maybe you’re rethinking your own goals, or wanting to renew your efforts on some old goals, or maybe you don’t even have any goals yet–that’s fine. It’s important to accept where you are and know that the only way to fail is if you don’t let yourself try. Here are five things that I’ve been doing that have really helped me start off with a bang and stay on track:

  1. Write Everything Down–I’ve noticed over the past few months that not only is it immensely helpful to clear the mind of overwhelmingly cluttered thought by writing everything that is distracting me down, but that actually hand-writing these things is very therapeutic. When I’m working on a writing project, I always start with pen and paper now. The only exception I’ve made for this is my list of goals, rules, and general thoughts on my short-term life plans. Those I keep in a typed document on my phone, where I can reference them any time and they don’t take up physical space, which always makes me feel clutter if I feel that it’s something I can’t lose and can’t file away. BUT, before you can make such a document for yourself, it’s best to brainstorm, word-vomit (whatever you need to do to get those thoughts out of your brain), etc, on a sheet of paper, first!
  2. Mantras–Okay, I was definitely one of those people who thought mantras were super cheesy and weird. Even in yoga class, when the instructor would have us do the “Omm” I would feel so silly. But I’ve been doing a home practice for a while now and have started incorporating phrases into my daily routine. When I give myself permission to say these mantras and really think about how they can apply to my day, and how I can incorporate them into my actions, I find I go about the rest of my day with more vigor, and I often do just what I tell myself in my mantra, sometimes without even realizing it.
  3. Perspective–Often, new years resolutions fail because people come at them with negativity. I.e. “I’m going to lose 30lbs,” “I’m going to quit smoking,” “I’m going to read more because I don’t read enough,” etc, etc. It’s great to have a desire for self improvement, but when you come at it from the angle that where you are right now is a problem that needs to be fixed, you set yourself up for failure. This is because you already view your current state of self as a failure, so when the results you’re looking for don’t come when you expect them, when you get impatient that things aren’t happening more quickly, you’ll view your unchanged status as a failure, and not a success for simply taking the effort to make a change. Instead, approach it as a transformation: you are building upon yourself. Reading more is an investment in your mind, getting in shape or beating your addiction is an investment in your health, etc. Seeing your lifestyle changes this way will allow you to give yourself recognition every time you make an effort towards achieving that change.
  4. Prioritize–There are some things that are always going to need done in your life: cooking, cleaning, paying the bills, etc., and there are some things that always wind up on the back burner because of this, usually the things you actually want to do. Obviously you can’t ignore your bills or stop eating, so instead, find a way to streamline these things that works for you. Maybe that means you put your bills on autopay, or take two hours out of one day each week to plan out and/or cook your meals for the coming week. Maybe you do one chore a day so that the dirt and grime doesn’t build up and you don’t wind up spending precious free time turning housework into a weekend event. This might not solve the time needs for all of the adult responsibilities you have. But find a way to streamline the most important things (the ones that will cause a shitstorm if they don’t get done) and shrug off the rest. You’ll be dusting for the rest of your life. You need to travel, write, build, research, learn–whatever it is you want to do–now.
  5. Relieve–Even after you’ve written down all of your mind clutter, given yourself a positive mantra, allowed yourself to accept where you are, and prioritized your responsibilities, you’ll probably be feeling overwhelmed or anxious at the impending changes to your routine. It’s a lot to keep track of, even if its something as simple as adding 30 minutes of exercise to your day. You need to remember to give yourself breathing room; find a place or a time each week (maybe each day if you need it) to get out of your routine bubble and just let yourself be. Maybe that’s meditating in your room, maybe its a stroll around the block or in a nearby park; my personal weekly relief is church. This is some place or activity that you don’t view as a commitment or obligation. It’s a reward that you freely give to yourself because you know you need it. Even if you don’t feel like you deserve it, don’t feel like you’ve done enough this week to give up the time for it, allow yourself time for relief. It will help refresh your energy and renew your determination to achieve your dreams!

I would love to hear about what you’ve done to achieve your goals. Share in the comments if you have any great things to add to this list! Let’s conquer 2016 and be the best we can be.

-tlc

Oops, I Did It Again

Can you guess where this is going? No, it has nothing to do with relationships, and no, I didn’t meet Britney Spears over the weekend.

I missed a post, AGAIN.

I’m sorry guys, but when it rains, it pours. (Unless you live in LA, and then when it rains, it’s just a few sprinkles.)

Actually, I have a very good excuse for last week’s oversight. I was on the road to South Dakota, for a last-minute, unplanned visit to see my grandmother, who has been sick and in the hospital. I even extended my trip home (I was supposed to be back in LA two days ago, but then life happened) because I wasn’t sure what the outcome of this week was going to be. But for now, it looks as though nothing is going to change, including the number of living grandparents I have.

That week sitting in the hospital got me thinking, though. How many of us actually think about death, or near-death illness at our age? It’s not an easy topic to think about. It’s heavy. Sure, we see it on TV and in the news all the time. We’re desensitized to fictional death and death on screen. I’ll admit, I’m still not sure I’ve fully aged out of the phase of feeling invincible.

But dwelling on our own, eventual, (hopefully) far-off deaths doesn’t really do us any good. Sure, there’s that well-used concept of living like you’re dying, but no one in their right mind would fully dive into that idea, when the hope is that you have several decades of future life to plan for.

**I would like to take a moment here to side-note that at this point in typing this post I had a sneezing fit, which has never happened to me before, convincing me that I am indeed allergic to death**

Instead, I spent most of the week thinking about my mother and how she dropped everything and ran to my grandmother’s bedside when my grandmother needed her most, without a second thought or care to her job, prior commitments, or responsibilities (she’s got a classroom full of animals and she instructed my dad on how to feed/take care of them after she was already on the road). This isn’t to condemn anyone who, for whatever reason, can’t do that. Even my mother acknowledged how lucky she is to have a job that will not only give her the paid time off, but also guarantee her job for up to two years, if something would keep her from going back for that long (not that they would pay her for those two years, but that’s besides the point).

But while my mom sat in there, with a real job and responsibilities on the side burner, I was the one feeling strangely anxious. I say strangely because while I’ve been between production jobs, I’ve been freelancing remotely to pay the bills. This means that as long as I have wifi, it really doesn’t matter where I am–I could do my job in Siberia if I needed/wanted to. Yet, instead of giving my full, undivided concern and attention to my loved ones sitting with me, I was anxious about the strange pull I felt towards LA, as though I needed to hurry back. Which is ridiculous. Why was I worrying about rushing back to nothing, when my grandmother was sick and needed my love right in front of me?

I think the real question we should be asking ourselves about death lies in that scenario right there. Where are our priorities, and why? If your loved one was on their deathbed tomorrow, would you drop everything–your job, your apartment, your pets–to go be with them? If it was going to take days, weeks, months, maybe years, would you stand by their side and help them through illness and/or death? Or is there something holding you back? Do you care more about your job and career than you do your loved ones? Concerned more for the health of your dog than your mom, dad, sibling, etc?

Why is that? Why do we care more about materialistic things than our families, relationships, and friendships? In Hollywood, it’s very easy to see the successful people at the top who have pushed away everyone they’ve ever loved, or who has ever loved them. And it’s even easier to see how miserable they are. And the saddest part? I see the super wealthy people in their later years and think, why? What’s the point of having all of that money when you certainly only have maybe a decade–two at most–left to live?

So, no matter where you go or what you do in life, I hope you find success. But I hope you also realize, as I did this week, that’s it’s more important to find people. So I also hope that no matter how much success you find, that you’re able to drop everything to be with your loved ones, should they ever need you.

Because money can’t buy you happiness when you’re dead.

-tlc

Learning To Be An Adult In The Not-So-Great-Ways

I’m a perfectionist. It’s a quality that comes with both good and bad aspects. On the one hand, I do my job and I do it well, no matter what. On the other hand, anytime I fall behind for reasons out of my control, I beat myself up for it. I can be moody, on the inside of course–because being anything other than personable to everyone is unacceptable–and being moody on the inside sucks. Because as much as you hate people who shove their emotions and bad attitudes on you (otherwise known as “bitchy” people), let’s face it: if you don’t get those feelings out, they don’t go away, they just make you crazy.

So being a perfectionist makes me a little crazy, and the worse part is that the only way to deal with being a little less crazy is by becoming more of a perfectionist and figuring out ways to solve whatever issue is making you crazy. Double-edged sword, Hamster Wheel, Bottomless Pit of Hell–whatever you want to call it, being a perfectionist makes for a rough life.

So now that you know this about me, I’m sure you can understand how crazy it makes me that I can’t seem to hear what people are saying when they call me on my phone at work. It’s starting to make me doubt my hearing. Should I go to a doctor? Is it my phone? Is it a little bit of both? If yes to the first question and last question, then where should I go for an appointment? A Primary Care Doc? An Audiologist? I don’t even have a doctor out here in LA yet. Where should I go for that?  And if it’s not me, how do I fix my phone? Or, how do I make sure to get people’s names right without asking them a thousand times, or spending five minutes having them spell their name for me? Guys, I just want to be a writer. Can’t we all go home now, and I’ll e-mail you later?

There’s a lot of great and exciting things that come with being an adult out of college. You finally get your own apartment (probably with roommates, but hey, at least you can buy alcohol and have friends over now).  You get a paycheck that (hopefully!) amounts to more than covering the cost of a weekend of Taco Bell dinners. You get to call more of the shots on what you do with your life, and when you do it. It’s amazing.

But then your body starts getting old, even though you’re only in your 20’s and you start wondering what the hell is wrong? And pretty soon you have to find a dentist, and a doctor, and you’re paying a monthly gym membership fee because you realize that pizza and wine for dinner every night of the week probably has something to do with why you feel like crap all the time and you have to buy bigger pairs of jeans. You guys, adulthood is not fun. Adulthood is a freaking nightmare.

Adulthood is forcing yourself to do all of those things you avoided as a kid, like calling strangers, doing the dishes, going to the doctor, doing your laundry, planning trips, and making your bed, because it’s something that has to be done, and no one else is going to do it. Adulthood is being bored and being too tired to do anything about it. Adulthood is knowing there are all these problems in the world, and knowing how small you are because you’ll never be able to fix all of them.

Maybe the reason we call it “Adulthood” is because being an adult is almost as tough as living in the “hood”–metaphorically speaking. Or maybe that’s way too much of a stretch. I don’t know, but either way, all I want to do is take a nap.

-tlc

My Origin Story

I had to put the soundtrack from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone on in order to write this post.

So on the day that I am writing this, I just found out–thanks to the interwebs and this new-fangled thing called Facebook news–that Taylor Swift’s mother has been diagnosed with cancer. And because all of the decisions in my life are based on celebrities, I decided I needed to write this blog post.

You’re probably a little confused right now. How does my origin story tie into Taylor Swift’s mother having cancer? And, more importantly, why do people “need” to know my origin story? How is my “origin” story any different from anyone else’s? We were all conceived and born pretty much the same way, right? Nothing too impactful there.

Well, maybe (though the story of my birth is pretty interesting), but when I say “origin story” I’m not talking about my birth. Yes, technically, my birth would be the story of where I began. But where I really began life? No, that came almost a whole decade later.

When I think back to it, I feel pretty lucky to have started life so earlier into my *ahem* life. As I observe the world I realize that most people don’t really start living their lives until well into their 20’s and 30’s. Some people never start living their lives. Me, though? Living my life started the day my mother was diagnosed with cancer.

I was nine years old, and it was September 11, 2001.

I was absolutely terrified. My parents and I had just moved to a new town, my only brother and sibling had just started college, and I thought the world was ending. No one was safe, outside–and even inside–of our bodies and homes. The year that followed was the most difficult year I’ve ever lived through emotionally.  I honestly don’t remember a lot of it.

Flash-forward almost fourteen years in the future, and my mother is alive and kickin’. I’m one of the lucky ones, thank God. However, that year down the rabbit hole, with death on our door step, taught me a lot of things. It taught me humility and the futility of our efforts to run away and hide from life. It taught me how brief life is. It taught me how precious our time spent together on this earth truly is.

I felt I needed to write this post because the year my mother was diagnosed with cancer, and survived, is the year that I learned to really live my life. It was the year I realized that every moment, every person, and every memory is precious and important. It’s the year that I learned that our actions and our decisions ripple through out our lives, and though they might feel insignificant now, our choices will forever affect who we are and how we live. It’s the year that I learned that loving others with your entire being, and letting them know that you love them that much, is the only reason to live, and will be the most important thing you do in your life time.

So, if you or a loved one is waging a battle for health and life, I just want you to know that you are not alone. We are in this together. And you are loved. You are loved so very much. Cherish every ‘now’ that you get to share with those around you. As the saying goes, there’s a reason the present is called the present.

And start living your life, now.

-tlc