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!

New Approach to Resolutions

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?

 

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?

Win a Handmade Christmas Card!

It’s time to guess and win a card!

One of my Christmas traditions is to draw a family Christmas Card. It’s almost done. I’m toying with adding something to the last drawing. Yes, there are three illustrations this year. No popups. Whew! I had to draw a line (pun intended) to save my sanity. A couple of years ago, I spent close to 80 hours just pasting them together.

Last year, I made a modified popup.

tobogganing Christmas Card

Christmas Card 2015

I’m having a hard time with my “no cutting or pasting rule” for the year. I look at these cards and their so much prettier than a plain white one. I still have time to assemble something, don’t I? Maybe not.

The card from 2014.

christmas card with tree punch

illustrated christmas card

Guess what we are doing in this year’s card. Leave a comment and win!

Merry Christmas!

 

Stop Negative Thoughts and Be Creative!

How think more creatively

Most of us would like to think more creatively. I would. As human beings, we dream every night and play out all kinds of creative scenes. Writing is my thing, so I want my mind to be filled with new thoughts. I love it when new characters, scenes or plot ideas pop into my head, but I wish they would appear more often. With such an over-active mind, how do I do that?

In one of my first meditation classes at Wanderlust Yoga Festival, I learned that up to 90% of our thoughts are old and repetitive.

Wow. I consider myself a creative thinker, so I was horrified that much of my time is wasted.

The instructor explained there are many kinds of old thoughts. The most common are negative. We play out scenes where we have felt loss or have been wounded long ago. They’re on a loop. We replay them over and over again. There is nothing we can do about these scenes. They happened. They’re in our past. Most of the time these loops make us feel bad, guilty, or fill us with regret. Not only do we hold them in our minds, we hold them in our muscles, our gut, our heart, our bones. It’s not healthy.

We think about the people in our lives who misunderstand us.

They live in our present. We regurgitate our latest conversations. They may be one of our acquaintances, a co-worker, or a neighbor. Their negative impact can hold us back in some way when their unkind words make us doubt ourselves. We don’t need more doubt. We have enough as it is. Everyone is on a path, but these people seem to trip us up. These “viral” loops in our brain make us feel inadequate. For some strange reason, we continue to regurgitate them anyway. We add them to our already heavy load. We are sensitive human beings.

On top of that, we have worries and fear.

They live in our future. They are the worst. We make plans and try to control what happens. A certain amount of planning is important, but what if the expectations become huge? It can paralyze us. I have held off sending emails that could further my career in writing because of the fear of a typo, an awkward sentence or a rejection. Instead, I hesitated and had to build up my confidence before pressing send.

There is also the fear of choosing the right path. What if we made a wrong turn somewhere? We may have faltered, twisted and turned around, or may have been seduced by sparkly things along the way. How do we know?

resolutions illustrationAll of these thoughts weigh us down. They take up the majority of our time. In order to free up space for creativity, we shouldn’t think about something that happened last month or ten years ago. The negative people in your life? They aren’t worth your time either. Obsessing about the future doesn’t help since it’s more out of our control than we think and it never turns out exactly how we plan, anyway. So make your plan and move along.

Sound easy? It is.

I say this because I stumbled upon part of this technique before the yoga adventure.

When I received a request for my full manuscript, I was so excited! Then I panicked. Over the previous two weeks, a few new ideas had popped into my head. There were a couple inconsistencies that needed to be fixed. Since they had bubbled up at weird times during the day, I hadn’t written them down. I couldn’t remember what they were. I was leaving town! I had a doctor’s appointment at 2:00! It was noon! I had two hours!

What would I do?

My stomach knotted while all kinds of negative thoughts popped into my head. I didn’t have time to sit and read through 370 pages, but I wanted to send it as soon as possible. Timing is everything.

I stared at my laptop on the kitchen counter and then I looked down at the rug. It was worth a try. After getting comfortable on the floor, I took a deep breath and tried to clear my frantic mind. I concentrated on my breath (this may sound weird), and stared at the insides of my eyelids. I took several deep breaths and thought about my main character. Then I drifted over (and I mean barely thought about), a few plot points and BAM! Those five corrections popped into my head.

Instead of thinking, I freed my mind and listened.

This happened because I calmed myself and stepped away from the source of stress. Breathing does that. In two three, out two three. Over and over until the heart rate slows and our brains fill with oxygen.

In the case above, I had thought about these corrections before, but only momentarily. I had been in that creative space when they were formed, so I had to get back into that level of calm and relaxed thinking in order to bring them back.

If you’re facing a brain block, sometimes it gets worse if you try to force it. That’s when we are using the wrong part of the brain. I don’t believe good books get written with the cerebral cortex. It’s too logical. Creative thinking has to come from that dreamlike state where the book flows like a movie. I write what I see in my mind’s eye.

I set aside time to write creatively and try to hit between 1000-2000 words. If I’m having a problem settling down, I do what I did when I panicked. I slow my breathing. I think about my last scene and the characters. I try to come up with the most interesting event that could happen, the worst-case scenario, or a way to reveal something new. Then I start writing.

At the festival, I learned another way to become more creative. By letting go of all those negative, unwanted, or unneeded thoughts, the brain can flow to new ideas . The process of letting go makes room for them.

Imagine them as black smoke deep inside your bones, your muscles, your gut. Breathe them out. Get rid of them. You don’t have the time for old negativity.

It’s funny, how it feels weird to let them go. It’s as if we’ve clung to them for protection, but they don’t protect us. They hurt us. They keep our wounds open, so they don’t heal.

The first three days of the festival, all of my old wounds broke wide open. It was scary, at first to be so vulnerable. I had to think about them, so I could finally release them.

Negative memories and thoughts hold us back. They undermine our confidence. We’ve learned our lessons. We don’t need reminders of misunderstandings or mistakes. They need to go back to where they belong. In our past.

Just the fact that 90% of our thoughts are old, changed my thinking.

When something bad happens, I let myself have time to think about it. Then I let it go. It’s not worth my time.

resolution illustrationI thought I had to go out and fix everything by doing, but I was wrong. I needed to accept who I am and chill. Everything will ebb and flow the way it’s supposed to if we trust we are on the right path and keep working hard toward our goals. We need to quiet our minds, so we can listen to our sub-conscious thoughts, stop forcing everything to solve problems, and be.

We are human beings after all.

Are you able to let go of negative thinking? How does the creative process flow for you?

Click for more adventure on my Wild Ride.

Another inspiring post for you!

When Life Imitates Art

The Addams Family 1

Danny and I embrace our weirdness and dress up as Morticia and Gomez Addams every Halloween. I find it transformational when donning a wig, applying dark makeup and slipping into Morticia’s character for the night.

I remember the original drawings of The Addams Family created by Charles Samuel Addams. He had an interesting fascination of the macabre and drew over 1300 cartoons in his lifetime. He inspired and consulted for The Addams Family TV show, one of my favorites while growing up.

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