This New Approach to Resolutions Really Works!

resolution illustration

I’ve been through a few years of good intentions which paved my road to resolution hell. Even though I started on the right path to check them off my list, I wound up in the shadows of monolithic deadends while overwhelmed with disappointment. I’m done making traditional New Year’s Resolutions and have a new approach to share with you. It really works!

resolutions illustration

 

It all started two years ago when I topped my list of New Year’s Resolutions with a deadline to traditionally publish my first book. As the end of the year approached, I felt that super sick sinking feeling of failure by not achieving my top goal. My children pointed out that I can’t control my fate if it’s in the hands of others.

Last year, I made resolutions including all the projects I wanted to complete. This time, I was in control of the list. What could go wrong? I skipped down the verdant path under sunny skies until I lost my brother and a demon washing machine took control of my life. I missed most of the writing contest deadlines and bummed out.

Enter the Bullet Point Journal.

When I discovered bullet point journaling, I began to make short-term goals and planned 7-10 days in advance. Each week that I used it, I stayed on task and accomplished twice as much. Plus, I crossed off a lot of random chores and goals like meditating and exercise too.

Bullet Point Journal

Build good habits.

This year, I’m taking a different approach. Instead of finishing writing projects as a goal, I want to write more consistently, improve my work/play/exercise balance in life, and continue a routine which I started in the last quarter of 2017.

Create space for being creative.

It’s easy for me to crush writing deadlines, but I loathe forced wordcounts. Instead, I’m focusing on time management. With the help of that beloved bullet point journal, I carve out time to write every day. It really works!

Continue the challenge of becoming fit and strong.

One of last year’s goals that I actually attained was to finally rehab my knee after a partial knee replacement. I had tried physical therapy and working out on my own, but made very little progress. My legs atrophied after a partial knee replacement and became very weak. Without strong legs, the rest of my body weakened.

Then I hired a personal trainer to meet once a week. It made a HUGE difference! I’m still on Anastrozole to blow estrogen to bits (what my breast cancer ate), but it also blows up bone, so lifting weights has an added benefit for me. Weight training is important for everyone since it prevents osteoporosis along with burning fat and the obvious, building muscle. I weigh more this year, but grew a lot of muscle and lost some of the flab around my waistline.

This is the first year I can wrangle the humongous plastic bins full of Christmas decorations. I have enough for ten households. I surprised my husband, Danny, when I took down all of it in an afternoon and stacked those monstrous containers in the basement. He was pretty stoked! He used to be the wrangler of the household.

I won’t face monolithic deadends if I don’t build them.

New Years Resolutions 2018With this new approach in place, I won’t be disappointed with the twists and turns of life’s journey during 2018. I like the idea of building good habits, carving out creative space, and continuing to make exercise a priority instead. A bullet point journal full of activities and short-term goals will result in progress towards completion of projects at its own pace. As long as I keep moving forward, that’s enough for me!

Do you make resolutions? Have you tried bullet point journaling? Do you like the idea of short-term goals and habits instead of traditional resolutions?

Click for more of the Wild Ride!

Related posts:

A Tiny Tale of Terror or How to Train Your Resolutions

My Resolution Failures and Why You Should Join The Big Chill in 2017

Super Easy Bullet Point Journaling

I Celebrated a Birthday but Failed to Save a Life.

My Demon Washing Machine is Haunted

When Destiny Packs Your Bags

2017 Christmas Card Reveal and Winners!

My handmade Christmas cards are finished and in the mail, so it’s time for the big reveal! There’s a point every year when I look at my sketches and think, This is the dumbest idea ever! Then I shrug my shoulders and finish them. What else could I possibly do? Buy cards? Send photo cards? Skip the tradition altogether?

Nope.

2017 Christmas Cards

This is always the scary part. Here it is! *gulp*

2017 Christmas Card

And the inside –

2017 Christmas Card Message

Because we all need to break out of our snow globes to enjoy the magic of Christmas, right?

There was only one person who guessed correctly – Linda Seccaspina with SKIING!

The other two were picked out of a hat.

Daya and Unbound Roots won!!!

THEN I PICKED ANOTHER ONE!

Emma from the Emma Edit!

Send your addresses to my email at susielindau @ gmail.com and I’ll send you a card.

Be sure to check out the winners’ blogs!

Now, I’ll don my straw hat for a well-deserved nap and hope only sugar plums dance in my head. Peace and joy to all and to all a good night!

Are you ready for the holidays?

Guess and Win a Card!

handmade Christmas cards

Yes, once again, I’ve created my homemade Christmas cards. I hope you can guess what I drew so you can win one.

They are a huge part of my holiday traditions; a labor of love, sweat, and a few tears. I actually balled up a few early sketches and threw them. It seemed like the appropriate, although dramatic reaction at the time.

My cards have chronicled our family through the years. My husband and I ski jumped in the first card, in the photo above. For a couple of years, I made popup cards and almost lost my mind. I missed parties to finish them. What was I thinking??? My latest version is popup-lite.

After a week of work, they’re done. Almost. I better make a couple more…

They are pretty ridiculous, as usual. And once again, they required sketching, drawing, cutting, and pasting, driving to the store for a new copier, glue sticks, stamps, and envelopes.

Guess what our family is doing this year!

Christmas cards

Leave your guess in the comments and win one. If there are more than three winners, I’ll draw them from a hat. Good luck!

I hope you’re enjoying the holiday season. I better start Christmas shopping. Sheesh!

 

Do you send greeting cards? Do you love receiving them? What do you think of the new trend to have a B list that gets the email version?

 

A Cosmic Joke after Trauma

When life becomes a cosmic joke, I’m ready for the punchline.

It’s more than traumatic when someone healthy dies moments after you speak with them. My mind has been flooded with what ifs and the disbelief that anyone could sit down and pass away from a clot. I’m still in shock after almost three weeks.

So what’s the joke?

My husband, Danny, and I returned home to regroup before the funeral. We stepped inside and a steady dripping sound greeted us. Part of the ceiling lay on the floor of the guest bedroom. Water collected in pools on the hickory floors around it.

Remember my demon washing machine story?

This is the guest bedroom on the first floor under the laundry room.

When it rains it pours - a cosmic joke

In a panic, I ran upstairs to the laundry room. Water poured from the cold faucet. Why now? I checked those faucets three times a day for five weeks and they had never shed a drop.

The drain under the washer remained dry. Water ran inside the wall and had collected in the ceiling, which caved in. Then it traveled through the floor to our unfinished basement below.

I ran down the steps. Water sprinkled our kid’s apartment furniture and inconsequential storage containers. My eyes fell on a large rectangular box. It had leaned against the wall since we moved in seventeen years ago. It contained some of my artwork.

“Are you effing kidding me?” I shouted and shook my head. I didn’t need this while planning for my brother’s funeral.

Then I rushed back upstairs, stood in the guest bedroom doorway and laughed. Continue reading

An Ode to a Midwinter Cold

midwinter-cold

Hark!

Is that a death rattle I hear, trembling the dark wood around me?

Nope.

‘Tis the phlegm from thy chest cold shaking the bed frame as I hack up another loogie.

A midwinter cold has claimed yet another Kleenex which shroud thy bedclothes like moguls on ski slopes in thy feverish dreams.

Okay, so I don’t have a fever, but as I gaze out the window, red nose pressed against the glass, the lengthening daylight draws me outdoors, like a siren, or Beckham, or some other hot guy. Thy waning energy, thy only defense against overdoing it on yonder slackline. (A gift from Santa.)

yonder-slackline

Each day, upon wakening, hope soars that its hold has loosened. Alas all that has loosened are the reeds in thy larynx as I croak in a strong baritone, “Coffee, I need coffee.” Perhaps I should audition for a boy band.

And so linger do I like fingerprints upon thy neti pot. Only a shadow of thyself, stretching out with the day, on the couch, zapper clutched tight in one pale hand while guzzling mugs of green tea like shots of tequila with the other.

The next few days would certainly ring brighter. But, alas, I awake slack-jawed with energy zapped. Now rapid-fire sneezing and nasal congestion appear. I try to sleep it off.

Then darkness swallows all hope as a shiver slices thy core. I tunnel deep within the tangled sheets, tossing then turning to Web MD – How to sleep with a fever. Reduced to a mouth-breather, I check off thy list until the corners’ of thy cracked lips curl in a smile.

Nasal strips. Duh!

I dash to the bathroom to see if drawers contain the desired breathing implement. Aha! I apply it to nose’s bridge and can instantly breathe. Oh, the relief and sanguine bliss and scent of flowers and sunshine and… then I notice thy reflection which resembles a prizefighter after losing the prize. What if my nose sticks like that?

I quiet down for a long midwinter’s nap, snoozing for two hours at a time. By morning, the fever has fizzled. Yes! My expectations fly away with my imagination. I would rest, then go running tomorrow and then write, then replenish thy refrigerator, and then… I dragged through another day.

I curse thy pharmacist. How dare she send me away since thy flu shot was almost in hand (or arm) and with such a lame excuse. Something about anti-cancer drugs suppressing thy immune system and not giving anyone a shot who had double boobectomies. Never before have I beset such an outrage. Instead of smiling and leaving, I should have explained, “I only had one bad boob!” Shoulda, woulda, coulda.

And here am I, a mere shell of thyself, crawling with legs splayed sideways, skittering from bed to couch to chair, always hiding, the light too bright still.

Oh, when, doth midwinter’s cold end? Hack, cough, spit.

It better be soon, dammit. Snow’s in the forecast and there are wild rides to be had.

Did you get your flu shot? It’s not too late. When I’m well, I’m demanding one.

I drew Midwinter’s Cold as I imagined it when I wrote this poem. Yes, thy mind is a very scary place.

How La La Land Inspires Writers and Artists

Have you seen La La Land? You should. It will inspire you. Here’s why:

Writers and artists can be sensitive people, right? We tack our work up on the wall for everyone to judge and hope someone, anyone, even if they’re in the back of the room, gets what we were trying to do. It’s hard when we hear whispers and a few giggles. It’s all the H words; humbling, humiliating, horrifying and hell. So why do we keep doing it? Because of all the P words. It’s our passion. The potential to reach the precipitous peak of all our pleasurable dreams by perseverance would be pure paradise. Okay, so I’m pushing it.

la-la-land

La La Land is a vibrant musical film. It shows how Hollywood can suck hope from a person unless they’re willing to take a risk and persevere through all those H words.

The following paragraph includes SPOILERS: I watched Mia, played by Emma Stone, appear in front of stoney-faced production heads while she auditioned her heart out. Time after time, she faced rejections. Sebastian, played by Ryan Gosling, sells out to play his piano just about anywhere, even though his heart belongs to jazz. The odds are against them.

Three things really hit me:

A teacher at Icon Collective Music Production School recently told my son, Kelly, all artists face horrible rejection at some point. Most give up. Successful artists persevere, take risks, and follow their passion no matter what happens.

The second takeaway? Support. Surrounding yourself with people who “get what you’re trying to do,” is imperative. We have to make the effort to find them. All it takes is one.

The last message I got from the movie was about sacrifice and choices.  Sometimes we have to choose what’s uncomfortable in order to grow as an artist. Following a passion may not be convenient and can be isolating. Most of us won’t be faced with the choices Mia and Sebastian had to make, but I think the message in the ending was clear.

SPOILER ALERT! They chose their passion over passion. Watch the movie and you’ll see what I mean.

End of spoilers.

la_la_land_film

The irony of La La Land? It took all those P words and six years in order to make this film, according to writer and director, Damian Chazelle. No one believed a musical would make any money. He said this while accepting awards on stage at the Golden Globes. His film took seven of them, including Best Picture. He embodied his film’s message. He dedicated his first award “to all the musical theater geeks out there.”

Watching this movie after posting about my failed resolutions really hit me.

As a writer, rejections pile up. Writing books, screenplays, and blog posts take most of my free time. I’ve already faced cancer and freaked out over how short life can be. I asked myself point blank. “Is this really how I want to spend the rest of it?”

In that moment, I wondered what life would have been like if I hadn’t started writing almost six years ago. No books. No screenplays. No blogging communities or conferences or writer friends. There are other ways I could create, after all, I graduated in art, but it comes down to passion. I couldn’t imagine that alternate universe. I love writing. I can’t give it up.

So bring it on, H words! I will continue to ignore the whispers and giggles. It’s part of the process of following my passion. I’ll reach that precipitous peak, someday.

Have you seen La La Land? What’s your passion? Do you eat popcorn with or without butter?

My Christmas Card Drawings Revealed

In three days Christmas will arrive whether we are ready or not. Three days! I’m psyching up for my last lap around Boulder for holiday gifts. I need to bake my annual cinnamon rolls and make a list to hit the grocery store. The good news? The illustrated Christmas cards are done and in the mail. YES! I’m always relieved when this tradition is complete.

I sketched my family skiing and boarding on the slopes, but I didn’t get into it. Then I drew Danny hanging an ornament on the tree. When I cracked up laughing, the decision was made.

As most of you know, I’ve created popup cards for the last few years. My internal conversation over whether to cut and paste this year, turned into a raging argument. I really wanted to make it a booklet, but I didn’t have time. After printing out a few boring black and white cards to give to friends at a holiday lunch, I settled on a compromise.

I added a tinge of color to the last illustration and ran the cards through the printer a couple more times to add borders.

Ted Strutz guessed what my family is doing and won one a Christmas card! Way to go Ted! He blogs flash fiction for the Friday Fictioneers on Ted Book and slice of life photography on Ted Book Daily Pics. Be sure to check out his blog.

Yep. We are decorating the Christmas tree, but it’s a little on the wild side.

So here’s the scary part. The big reveal…

2016 Christmas Card

 

Happy accidents during Christmas

 

2016 Christmas Card reveal - illustration

It’s all about happy accidents.

We all experience them throughout the holidays. We run into old friends at celebrations or make new ones while looking for dog coats at Petsmart. We may think of the perfect gift while searching for something completely different. It seems like good stuff happens when we are putting out that positive vibe.

It’s all about recognizing the beauty around us and keeping the meaning of the season in our hearts. Keep counting your blessings!

The #Blessed Projects were a happy accident.

I needed something to pull me out of a funk one day, so I made a list of my blessing. The blues faded like the fog in Scrooge’s cemetery. I had to share the idea and the #Blessed Projects were born. If you need something to uplift you, look no further. Click on the link above. There are many to choose from. Make sure to check out Being Thankful, by Words from Anneli. I failed to link her fantastic #Blessed Project when I posted. Another happy accident since she is featured here today.

Another illustrated card is finished. Onto that last-minute Christmas shopping, oh, yeah, and then wrapping everything. *yawn* I still have three days…

Have you experienced any happy accidents lately? Are you feeling blessed or stressed?