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Archive for the ‘Success Tips’ Category

doing what you like

I hope whatever you are doing today, whatever fills your thoughts and captures your attention, brings you joy!

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I know I post this every year, but it bears repeating…

smart-goals

Yesterday, Captain Cavedweller and I sat down and made a list of individual and joint goals we want to accomplish for 2014.

We’ve long ago given up on making resolutions. They don’t last, and we know unless we set a goal, we won’t stick to it.

If you are looking to set some goals for yourself for the new year, think about making them SMART goals.

SMART goals are a good way to move from thinking about doing something to getting it done. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable/Actionable, Realistic, Timely.

To get a specific goal, ask yourself the who, what, where, when and why questions. Who is involved? What do I want to accomplish? Where will this take place? When will it take place? Why do I want this to happen?

A goal that is measurable is one that can be tracked by progress.  When you measure progress, track results and meet deadlines, it spurs you on toward greater accomplishment. Ask yourself questions like “How many?” “How much?”  “How will I know the goal is accomplished?”

Attainable/Actionable goals help you identify what is most important to you. Once you do that, you can figure out step by step how to make it happen. You will develop the attitude, skill and ability to reach that goal.  This part of goal setting requires planning. You need to think out each step of action you need to take to make the goal happen and the time frame in which you’d like to see the results. Even goals that are a stretch (ones that get you beyond your comfort zone) are attainable when you grow to reach them. If your goal is get out the door on time in the morning, what specific steps can you take to make sure it happens?

To be realistic, a goal must represent an end result you are willing and able to achieve. You can have a stretch goal that is up there in the stars and still have it be realistic. You are the only one who can decide how lofty your goal should be. Just make sure it represents progress. Some of the highest goals accomplished didn’t seem that difficult because they were a labor of love or evolved from a deep passion. If you honest-to-goodness believe your goal can be accomplished, then it is probably realistic. You can also determine if a goal is realistic by looking at past accomplishments or determining what conditions or factors need to exist for the goal to be realized.

A goal is timely when it is tied to a time frame and has a sense of urgency. The steps leading to the accomplishment of your goal will also be time-based.

So let’s look at a goal. You might set a goal  that states   “I will learn to cook this year!”

While that is a good start, when you make it SMART you make it doable and provide the basis to hold yourself accountable.  “I will make a three-course meal, from scratch, and serve it for dinner Dec. 31, 2014 at 6 p.m.” Anyone could show up at 6 p.m. Dec. 31, and see if you have in fact learned to cook and made the meal.

Create action steps. You might write down something like:

“To achieve this goal I will …

• Purchase a cookbook

• Take a cooking class

• Learn the basics of cooking

• Check in weekly with Susie and Jane to h0ld me accountable to my goals…”

You get the idea.

When you share this goal with at least two other people, it will hold you accountable and help keep you on track.

The last part of the goal is setting a reward for yourself when you achieve it. Put it in writing and hold yourself to it. What realistic thing would you award yourself for meeting the goal? A pedicure? A new outfit? A spa day? Think of something that will give you some inspiration to keep going when you feel yourself dragging.

She Who Is Ready to Make this Year Fantastic!

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You’ve probably noticed I’ve not had many blog posts the last few weeks.

Starting today, I’m getting back on track.

Starting today, I’m beginning a new adventure.

Starting today, I’m writing not just a new chapter in my life story, but opening a new book.

Starting today, I no longer have the “safety net” of a full-time “day job” and am committing myself 100 percent to my writing.

I knew once I was bitten by the writing bug it was what I wanted to do full-time. I dreamed of the day when I could stop living my life in black and white and pursue the beautiful array of colors the life of my dreams presented.

Due to some circumstances I would not have predicted, I’m able to do that sooner than I planned.

I can’t even begin to tell you how excited this makes me.

I’m also excited because I discovered some things in the last few weeks.

• I have a backbone and using it will not kill me.

• I have a funny bone and using it is therapeutic.

• I have a breaking point on my tolerance for unacceptable behavior and drawing the line strengthens the backbone.

• Self-respect is a highly valuable commodity.

• Sometimes we need a nudge off the cliff to take a leap of faith.

• Faith is both empowering and reassuring.

• More people care about you than you’ll probably ever know.

• Some people will not do what is right.

• Always, always take the high road, because it gives you the ability to carry on with dignity and self-respect.

• True friends are there to lift you up and encourage you onward.

• My husband would walk through fire for me.

Yeah, I’m feeling very, very blessed today and grateful beyond my ability to put into words.

The past few years, I’ve had a quote taped  to my desk at work:

Sunflowers and summer butterflies

I hope whatever it is you imagine, whatever it is you dream – you give yourself the opportunity to become.

She Who Is So Giddy About Today

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smart-goals

Yesterday, Captain Cavedweller and I sat down and made a list of individual and joint goals we want to accomplish for 2013.

We’ve long ago given up on making resolutions. They don’t last, and we know unless we set a goal, we won’t stick to it.

If you are looking to set some goals for yourself for the new year, think about making them SMART goals.

SMART goals are a good way to move from thinking about doing something to getting it done. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable/Actionable, Realistic, Timely.

To get a specific goal, ask yourself the who, what, where, when and why questions. Who is involved? What do I want to accomplish? Where will this take place? When will it take place? Why do I want this to happen?

A goal that is measurable is one that can be tracked by progress.  When you measure progress, track results and meet deadlines, it spurs you on toward greater accomplishment. Ask yourself questions like “How many?” “How much?”  “How will I know the goal is accomplished?”

Attainable/Actionable goals help you identify what is most important to you. Once you do that, you can figure out step by step how to make it happen. You will develop the attitude, skill and ability to reach that goal.  This part of goal setting requires planning. You need to think out each step of action you need to take to make the goal happen and the time frame in which you’d like to see the results. Even goals that are a stretch (ones that get you beyond your comfort zone) are attainable when you grow to reach them. If your goal is get out the door on time in the morning, what specific steps can you take to make sure it happens?

To be realistic, a goal must represent an end result you are willing and able to achieve. You can have a stretch goal that is up there in the stars and still have it be realistic. You are the only one who can decide how lofty your goal should be. Just make sure it represents progress. Some of the highest goals accomplished didn’t seem that difficult because they were a labor of love or evolved from a deep passion. If you honest-to-goodness believe your goal can be accomplished, then it is probably realistic. You can also determine if a goal is realistic by looking at past accomplishments or determining what conditions or factors need to exist for the goal to be realized.

A goal is timely when it is tied to a time frame and has a sense of urgency. The steps leading to the accomplishment of your goal will also be time-based.

So let’s look at a goal. You might set a goal  that states   “I will lose weight this year!”

While that is a good start, when you make it SMART you make it doable and provide the basis to hold yourself accountable.  “I will lose 50 pounds by 5 p.m. Dec. 31, 2013.” Anyone could show up at 5 p.m. Dec. 31, and see if you have lost the weight.

This is where you will also create your action steps. You might write down something like:

“To achieve this goal I will …

• Exercise for 45 minutes Monday through Friday between 6 and 7 a.m.

• Eat balanced meals with plenty of fruits and vegetables, consuming no more than 1,600 calories a day.

• Drink 48-64 ounces of water every day.

• Check in weekly with Susie and Jane to h0ld me accountable to my goals…”

You get the idea.

When you share this goal with at least two other people, it will hold you accountable and help keep you on track.

The last part of the goal is setting a reward for yourself when you achieve it. Put it in writing and hold yourself to it. What realistic thing would you award yourself for meeting the goal? A pedicure? A new outfit? A spa day? Think of something that will give you some inspiration to keep going when you feel yourself dragging.

She Who is Ready for a New Year of Opportunities

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If you couldn’t quite work up the courage at Christmas to pop the question, you’ve got another opportunity coming up that is very popular as a get-engaged holiday.

Valentine’s Day is all about love and romance – what better time to ask your sweetheart to be yours forever?

There is plenty of time to get creative with your proposal and make it uniquely special and memorable. Here are a few ideas:

• Food – you can spell out “Will You Marry Me” in any number of ways on food such as sliced olives on pizza, M&Ms on giant sugar cookie of blueberries on a pancake. You get the idea

• Toys – an Etch-a-Sketch or a Lite-Brite are perfect for spelling out those special words.

• Puzzle – order a custom puzzle with a photo of you two and the words “Will You Marry Me”. Do the puzzle together and be prepared for her stunned and excited expression.

• Treasure Hunt – make a map and hide “clues.” The treasure she will find in each location is an envelope with a card inside containing one word. Once she gathers all the envelopes, it should spell out, “Will You Marry Me?”

• Find Your Inner Poet – and write her a poem, a song or even make a video proposing to her.

• Use Nature – If you are on the beach, write it in the sand. Camping? Spell it out with rocks. Use flower petals to compose your proposal (best done on a not-windy day!).

• Get crafty – if you can cut and paste, you can make her a card using glitter, hearts, lace, asking her to marry you (she will keep this forever, I promise!). Go to  a craft store and gather up some cardstock, glue and Valentine-themed sparkles.

Dress in your best when you are doing this. If you have a shirt she loves to see you wear, put it on.

Also, most women do not want a huge audience when you pop the question so keep that in mind. Flashing it across a scoreboard at a game sounds great in theory, but think about how you’d feel if she said no in front of those thousands of sports fans.

Use your heart and your head and you’ll do just fine in coming up with a proposal you’ll  both remember for a lifetime!

She Who Loves Romance

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I’ve been up since way too early this morning working on my holiday baking. So far, I’ve turned four pounds of butter into chocolate peppermint kisses, gingerbread brownies, Russian teacakes, sugar cookies and seven layer bars.

As I’ve hustled through the baking, I thought of a few tips I wanted to share with you that make the process go so much easier.

• Invest in some good quality baking sheets. It honest-to-goodness makes a big difference.

• Make baking parchment and Pam your friend (as in non-stick cooking spray.) Spray your baking sheets with a light coating of Pam, line with a piece of parchment cut to fit and then give it a quick coating of Pam. Words don’t describe how much easier this makes my life. Just try it, you’ll see what I mean.

• Use Pam on your measuring cups if you will be measuring out something sticky, like molasses. A quick spray and the molasses just rolled right out of the cup like nobody’s business.

• Invest in a cooling rack or two. If you’ve got pans and pans of hot cookies coming out of the oven, cooling racks can be worth their weight in gold. They give your cookies a chance to cool down appropriately and that really does effect the finished product. Also, if you can find stands that stack, they free up tons of counter space while still providing circulation around those sweet treats.

• Clean as you go. If you are doing a marathon day of baking (like your truly) clean up as you go. At the end of the your baking spree you’ll be glad you did when you have just a few things to wash instead of a huge sink full of sticky, dirty dishes.

• Measure accurately. Seriously, measure accurately. This can make or break your baked goods. Don’t eyeball it. If the recipe says 1 1/4 cups then measure out exactly 1 1/4 cups.

• Follow directions. If you want your baked goods to turn out like the recipe intended, follow the directions carefully and completely.

•Gather your ingredients before you start. Before I start making a recipe, I read through it, gather all the ingredients and have in mind the order of the recipe. If I try and bake by grabbing the ingredients as I go, I will guaranteed forget to put something in. If you’ve got all the necessary ingredients laid out in front of you, it is harder to miss something.

• Use the right ingredients. If a recipe calls for butter and sour cream, don’t substitute margarine and applesauce and think you’ll wind up with a recipe that turns out correctly.

• Enlist help! Put your significant other, the kids or any warm body who happens into your home during a baking frenzy to work. They can cut out sugar cookies, cream butter and sugars, wash dishes, frost cookies. Turn it into a fun activity that you all can enjoy!

She Who Better Get Back To Her Baking

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With the approaching holiday season, are you starting to think about how to make this holiday season less stressful and more fun? Have you ever wished you could find a guide that offered you all the basic tips you needed to be a savvy and successful hostess with still maintaining your sanity?

Well, wish no more! I’ve compiled all my best tips, shortcuts, ideas and helpful hints for the holidays into a new e-book called Savvy Holiday Entertaining! You’ll find everything from ideas on getting organized, good enough housekeeping and party planning to some of my favorite holiday recipes.

Discover the seven secrets to successful entertaining.

Learn how to set a holiday buffet table.

Make the best chocolate candy in about five minutes with your microwave.

It’s all in there!

And here is the best part – I’m giving the book away for free! That’s right  – FREE! Get your download from Smashwords or my website. If you download from Smashwords, you can choose your format- everything from Kindle and Nook to basic computer-screen-readable options.

Smashwords

My Website

It is also available on Amazon for 99 cents and I hope to have it priced there for free in a few weeks.

You will also find a little bonus at the back of the book…. the first chapter of my holiday romance novel!

Check it out, share it with your friends. If you enjoy it, please post reviews on Amazon, B&N or Smashwords. I’d love to hear your feedback!

Happy Holiday Entertaining

She Who Is Pretty Excited About This Book

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