You Are Your Own Goal-Keeper

Making goals at the beginning of the year is easy: you feel more optimistic and motivated to make a fresh start. Come of the end of January, however, a lot of us find ourselves falling off of the wagon. It takes about 21 days, or 3 weeks, to develop or kick a habit. If we haven’t set realistic goals for ourselves then it’s less likely we’re going to form new habits and stick with them. Plus, once the shine of the new year wears off, you begin to feel less motivated, especially here where the days are still short and shockingly cold.
I’m the last person to be talking about setting New Year’s resolutions, though. Every year I set the same goal of reading more (50-60 books/year) and even though I read a little bit more every year, I still find myself falling short. I’ve set myself goals on Goodreads. I’ve announced my goal to all of my friends (who generally think I’m crazy). I started a reading journal but seeing as I already journal I found the practice difficult to sustain. I even promised myself that I would try and read an hour every night beforehand, which works out great (not) because I’m not always great at having a set bedtime.
The reason I don’t make my goal every year is because it’s ill-defined; I rely on others and the formation of other habits I don’t already have in place to try and get what I want. I am not my own goal-keeper. If you’re not keeping your resolutions, you might not be your own goal-keeper either.
In life, you’ve got the opposing team (your competition and your enemies) and your team (family and friends). These are the people who will act as your defense and sometimes even participate in your offense. But you’re the only one that’s watching the goal.
Asking your defense to watch your goal means they have to take their eyes off of the offense, which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Plus, each member of your team has their own goals to watch. They don’t have time to check your position.
Relying on a teammate you don’t have, or a piece of equipment that isn’t there doesn’t make sense either because you need to be able to fit those things into your game strategy now. If you think that you’ll get x just as soon as you get y then your goal is really about getting the y and not the x. (For example, I can’t read before bed if I don’t have a set bedtime. Then setting the bedtime becomes the goal, instead of reading beforehand.)
Well, no more. This year, I’m my own goal-keeper, responsible for my own goals. I’m doing this by being realistic and making my goal tangible: instead of setting a goal to read more (what is more?), I’m blocking off an hour every day on my calendar (when I know I’m awake) and dedicating it to reading. No excuses. No pretending. It’s there in black and white, so there’s no arguments and because it’s in my planner I’ve got no one to blame but myself if I miss a day.
Is it a perfect system? No. But can I keep up with it consistently? 90% of the time the answer is yes.
Right now, I’m kind of ok with those odds.
In this day and age we place so many demands ourselves that sometimes even going about our day-to-day lives is exhausting. As a person who likes to keep busy, I find myself struggling to stay balanced. You can follow my journey here, or click here or here to find more ways to streamline your life to keep it simple.

What are some of the ways that you stay balanced? Give us your advice below, or email your strategies to keepingbusywithb@gmail.com.

5 New Year’s Resolutions You Can Still Make (and Keep!)

I’m the first person to admit that I have never had much success at making new year’s resolutions, but even so I firmly believe that there is no right time to kick an old habit, start something new or think about the things you can do to improve your life. Self-improvement (much like your professional development) is your own project and there are certain simple things that you can start doing today (yes, today!) that in the long-run can lead to a happier and healthier existence.

Here are a few of my suggestions on some of the things you can do right now (yes, right now!) to feel happier, more relaxed and confident in your abilities.

  1. Practice gratitude, or if that sounds corny, commit to practicing happiness. Every night while you’re lying awake in bed trying to fall asleep, think of three things that gave you joy during the day instead of fretting over the things you can’t control. Better still, write them in your journal.
  2. Drink more water. You drink less water in the wintertime which can contribute to feelings of sluggishness, inattentiveness and fatigue. Pour yourself a glass every time you have a coffee or tea and then marvel at how you can stay awake through a whole movie on Netflix.
  3. Smile more. If you start smiling every time you say hello, you’ll realize how much you don’t actually smile, which is sad because many people believe it’s actually good for you.
  4. Be okay with having a good cry once in awhile. We’re so focused on avoiding negative emotions that we forget that releasing them can actually feel good and dare I say it? Cathartic. Pretending you aren’t in a bad mood doesn’t make things easier so if you’re feeling it, let it out. Your reasons for feeling a certain way aren’t always reasonable but your emotions are there regardless and therefore still have validity. Embrace your melancholy, have a good cry, and then move on with your life.
  5. Stop being a flake. For some of you it may be hard to imagine a time when you couldn’t text someone last minute to bail on plans. During ye olden times if you ditched someone you’d be leaving them alone at a table in a restaurant or stranded at a bus stop. Friends don’t do that to friends right? Make a commitment to do something fun and do it. You may surprise yourself and actually have a good time.

What are some of the simple resolutions you’re trying to put in place this year? Tell us below, or email your strategies to keepingbusywithb@gmail.com.

In this day and age we place so many demands ourselves that sometimes even going about our day-to-day lives is exhausting. As a person who likes to keep busy, I find myself struggling to stay balanced. You can follow my journey here, or click here or here to find more ways to streamline your life to keep it simple.

You, in Lists

I am the Queen of Lists. (It’s not a self-proclaimed title either; just ask anyone who knows me.) I freaking love them. I have lists for just about everything and around this time of year I like to review them (especially if I’m doing a yearly review, which I highly recommend you do as well.)

What kind of lists am I talking about? I’m talking about the lists that make up you: the things you like and dislike, the things that you think about, the dreams that you have. You have to have at least some of those written down, don’t you?

Here are some of the things that you may or may not have lists about:

  • favourite books/books to read/favourite genres
  • music to try
  • places you’ve visited
  • places to go
  • foods to try/favourite foods/restaurants
  • bucket lists/goals for week, month, year, season, vacation or life
  • movies to watch/favourite movies/TV shows
  • favourite ways of coping with stress
  • rainy day list/wish list
  • ideas for parties/birthday gifts/Christmas gifts
  • favourite board games/card games/party games
  • ideas for garden/outdoor space/home
  • favorite drinks/drinks to try
  • packing lists
  • websites to check out
  • books/items that friends have borrowed
  • savings goals
  • fitness goals
  • beauty products/treatments to try

I keep all of my “me” lists in my planner so when I’m planning a shopping trip, organizing a movie night with friends or just deciding which book to read next I have the all close at hand. It makes my daily planning more personal and purpose-driven.

Looking to try this in your own life? Here’s some examples of some of the lists I have going now:

  • This is the time of year I like to review the list of all of the items I’ve borrowed off of friends over the year. (And by items I mean books. Check out what I’m catching up on this winter here.)
  • I don’t know anything about wine so I always consult my list of favourites before I go to the store; honestly, I draw a blank every time I get there.
  • A lot of conversations with friends these days involve TV shows they’ve been binge-watching on Netflix. I try to keep track of the titles mentioned so I always have something to watch instead of scrolling through the list of Netflix recommendations for an hour. (I think my next one is Vikings. What do you guys think?)

What are some of the lists that you keep about your likes and dislikes? Where do you store them? Are there any ideas for lists that I didn’t include here? Give me a shout below or let me know at keepingbusyb@gmail.com and I’ll add your list to my list of lists!

I’m always looking for the best ways to manage my time and workflow more effectively and efficiently. If you’re looking for more ways to increase your productivity as well, click here for more strategies that I’ve developed and researched and here for more ways to stay organized. For more ways to deal with your busy lifestyle, click here.